Team GB Inspiring Young People to Eat Fresh

Published 5th May 2016

By Louise T Davies, Lead Food Technology Consultant D&T Association, Founder Food Teachers Centre

As the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games are fast approaching, Team GB are inviting schools across the UK to equip themselves with the skills to cook healthy and nutritious food. Get Set to Eat Fresh a programme created in partnership with the British Olympic Association and Aldi, provides a unique set of teaching resources for students aged 7 to 14 that help make learning about healthy eating possible across subjects including Science, Design and Technology and PSHE/Food.

A recent report ‘The Link between pupil health, wellbeing and attainment’ published by the NAHT and Public Health England brings together authoritative research to show how closely linked education and health are.

From the research gathered it is clear that:

  1. Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically.
  2. Effective social and emotional competencies are associated with greater health and wellbeing, and better achievement.
  3. The culture, ethos and environment of a school influences the health and wellbeing of pupils and their readiness to learn.

 Food teachers are centrally placed to support behaviour change and offer practical ways to young people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. When this becomes a school wide approach, there are definite improvements in academic attainment at key stages 1 and 2, especially for pupils with lower prior attainment. Many Head teachers are now placing health and wellbeing at the heart of the school ethos.

This is formalised in the School Food Plan and is inspected in the new OFSTED inspection framework with new criteria based on children’s health and wellbeing.

Get Set to Eat Fresh offers a range of exciting curriculum-linked resources to help students understand the importance of eating healthy and fresh food. Snack for Success, for example, looks at the benefits of healthy snacking and how easy it is to prepare healthy snacks. It is grounded in the reality that snacking is a large part of the modern diet. Children eat on the move, snacking between and sometimes replacing meals. These snacks contribute significantly to their overall diet. It is vital for teachers to pay attention to healthier snacking. 

We also know that role models can support changing attitudes and behaviour, and the Get Set to Eat Fresh programme presents videos and case studies of how Team GB adjust their food intake in relation to their sport and training schedules, including the use of snacking.

Get Set to Eat Fresh provides ready to use teaching resources, with class and homework activities that will help students:

  • Understand the importance of eating healthy food and making healthier food changes
  • Promote healthy eating in their school by creating a campaign to get everyone on board
  • Prepare and create healthy food, drawing on inspiration from Team GB athletes and their understanding of nutrition and the function of ingredients

If healthy eating improves an athlete’s performance, this is a key message about improving performance at school throughout the day.

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