Over 13,500 youth are reached each year through school enrichment, after school and summer programming. Extension and Outreach nutrition programs help youth develop into healthy adults by making good choices related to diet and physical activity.
Why do youth learn?
Trained staff, supported by regional and state nutrition experts, provide up-to-date information and share it through hands-on learning activities. During the series of six nutrition lessons, youth learn the importance of:
- smart choices from every food group,
- physical activity as part of daily life,
- food safety as it relates to food handling
Nutrition activities provide skill development in reading/language arts, math, and science plus nutrition and health. Reading/language arts skills are incorporated in 85 percent of the lessons, math skills in 60 percent and science skills in 25 percent.
What kids say about the program
- A note from one youth said: “Thank you very much for coming to our class. I learned a lot about nutrition. I can’t believe there is so much sugar in some food. Now I eat healthier after school. I also learned to exercise every day.”
- A fourth grader learned about grains during nutrition classes at his school. After grinding his teaspoon of wheat berries into flour during a hands-on activity, he ran to the teacher’s bulletin board and explained how the Midwest Plains states grew grain to feed the world, how it was planted and harvested, and how some bread is not 100 percent whole wheat.
- A third grader shared he will have his mom help him make the smoothies tasted in class and that he needs to change some of his eating habits. Accustomed to eating junk foods for snacks, he now sees healthy snacks as an alternative.
What teachers say about the program
- “The activities were fun, interesting, educational and at their level. I like how literature was integrated into the program.” – a second grade teacher
- “The students remind me to let them wash their hands before lunch.” – a third grade teacher
- A principal reported, “When you are here teaching nutrition, the kids want to come to school.”
Ongoing evaluation of the program indicate youth:
- have increased their knowledge of nutrition,
- have increased their knowledge and practice of food safety guidelines, and
- are more willing to try new foods.