Teaching nutrition and healthy eating using video from BBC Active

With childhood obesity an increasing issue, and sugary diets leading to a rise in dental problems from a young age, teaching nutrition to children has never been so important. Schools can take advantage of a range of healthy eating and nutrition videos from BBC Active, as well as a rich array of study materials and teaching resources from other sources.

Why do we need to eat, and what do our bodies do with food?

Children are fascinated by how their bodies work, and nutrition videos give them the opportunity to witness this in ways that aren’t normally possible. Teaching nutrition from a biological perspective using educational videos is a great way to bring the subject alive, and teachers can plan healthy eating activities around the subject matter in the videos.

The Nina and the Neurons series are excellent resources for teaching healthy eating to primary school children. They explore the topics that younger children are really interested in, and give age-appropriate answers to the questions they ask. The Digestion episode (2011) introduces the parts of the body that are essential for processing food, and gives children an overall understanding of what happens to the food we eat once it enters our bodies (and which types of food are easiest to digest).

For older pupils, it’s instructive to learn how the food we eat is processed by our bodies, and why our food choices make a difference to our health. Older children may be very aware that eating a healthy diet is important for maintaining a healthy weight – but nutrition videos can also show the unseen effect that unhealthy food can have on our insides. Students get the opportunity to see how the stomach and intestines work in Don’t Die Young (2008). 

How different food groups contribute to our health

A balanced diet is vital to maintain a healthy body. But what does that entail? Teaching nutrition involves giving children an understanding of the different food groups and what they contribute to our bodies. Nutrition lesson plans can also include educational videos to demystify the many myths and common confusions about healthy eating.

We Are What We Eat (2017) looks at the physics, chemistry and biology of our food, exploring the elements that make up our ideal diet.

Britain’s Favourite Foods – Are they good for you? (2015) explores some of the most popular foods in our supermarket trolleys, to discover whether they really are as healthy as they claim.

With marketing messages vying with official healthy eating advice – and scientific understanding changing all the time – it’s sometimes difficult to know what to believe about healthy food. The Truth About Healthy Eating (2016) busts some of the myths that abound about detox, vitamin supplements and superfoods, to give older students a better and more scientific understanding of health and nutrition.

Common understanding has it that sugar and fat should be consumed sparingly in a healthy diet. But which of these much-maligned nutritional villains is worse for our health? Sugar V Fat (Horizon) (2014) endeavours to find out, while The Truth About Fat (Horizon) (2012) uncovers some surprising facts about the role that fat can play in our diet.

Understanding the link between nutrition and dental health

Keeping our teeth in tip-top condition is really important at any age, so healthy eating for kids means gaining a good understanding of how food affects our dental health.

Again Nina and the Neurons come to the rescue for younger pupils, this time with Sugar and Teeth (2010), a science investigation for primary school children into the effects of sugar on our teeth, and how plaque is formed. Marvellous Milk (2010) is also an informative resource about how the calcium in milk and dairy products (and some fruits and vegetables) is important for the health of our teeth and bones.

Recipes and other healthy eating teaching resources

Healthy eating lesson plans are best when they’re hands-on, so don’t forget to include some simple and healthy recipes when teaching nutrition to your students. Use these teaching resources to engage with your students and get the best from your lessons.