Given the chance, most kids like to learn about food and healthy eating choices.A Chicago-area nonprofit, Pilot Light, ran a food education program for 1,500 elementary school students and found that 95 percent enjoyed food lessons.
Additionally, because of the program:
- 93% know that their food choices will affect their future health
- 93% believe it's important to know the ingredients in their food
- 86% like trying new foods
- 83% believe it's important to know where food comes from
- 78% feel they can choose healthy foods in the lunch room
Unfortunately, most schools don't have the resources to provide hands-on, engaging food instruction, but dietitians and chefs are teaming up to work out ways to solve the problem. The country's largest school food-service company, Chartwells K12, has been working with Pilot Light in Chicago and, to cover a wider geographical area, has launched a Mobile Teaching Kitchen program. It's a fully equipped, travelling kitchen that moves from city to city by truck.
Using a recipe-driven format similar to popular TV shows, chefs and dietitians in the mobile kitchen teach, demonstrate, advocate healthy choices, and even let kids do some cooking. They turn food education into a fun experience that helps kids get on a healthy path-and may help parents too. Among graduates of the Pilot Light program, 74 percent of students felt confident about advising their parents on healthy food choices.