Nutrition and food education

According to the National Food Strategy report published in July 2021, the government should focus on establishing effective food education as part of the wider food system.

The report highlights how effective cooking and nutrition sessions play a key role in our food system and can contribute to the prevention of obesity and ill health in later life.

The Young People's Health and Wellbeing 2022 Survey gathered valuable information about food habits of children and young people in Wandsworth.

National guidelines

Department for Education (DfE) guidelines state that cooking and nutrition should be part of the design and technology (D&T) curriculum. Key stage 1 to key stage 3 pupils should be taught how to cook and apply the principles of nutrition and healthy eating through their education.

Food teaching guidelines in primary and secondary schools offer a framework of knowledge and skills that is required of schools that teach children about food. 

Resources for schools 

Key resources are available that schools can use to teach cooking and nutrition effectively.

British Nutrition Foundation

Reliable information on nutrition that is grounded in science is available from the British Nutrition Foundation charity. This includes:

Food - a fact of life

The FOOD - a fact of life is an educational side of the well trusted British Nutrition Foundation. Teachers can download the characteristics of good practice in teaching food and nutrition education guide for secondary and primary schools as well as students with additional needs. There are free resources for teaching children and young people aged 3 to 16 about food, cooking and healthy eating. 

This includes:

  • A dashboard to help with lesson planning
  • Free cooking curriculum resources for different age groups from 3 to 16, including pupils with additional needs
  • Lesson plans, presentations, videos, activity packs, guides and food cards
  • Whole school food resources including policy templates
  • Support for planning and setting up a growing club
  • Food life skills to help students learn about cooking while considering healthy eating, food hygiene and safety, and budgeting
  • Activities and resources to engage with parents and carers
  • Professional development tools, including virtual practical workshops, webinar, conferences and online training session. To book visit FFL training or Teaching Primary Food and Nutrition programme
  • Webinars on healthy eating topics including tackling food waste, sustainable diets and allergies

For effective assessment and monitoring purposes, schools can utilise food teaching progression charts age 5 to 11 and core competencies for children and young people age 5 to 16 or use the programme of study, primary food projects for ages 5 to 11. Each programme of study comprises of a six-week scheme of learning, lesson plans and resources. These are all tailored to meet primary school food curricular around the UK, whether you teach food in cooking and nutrition, technologies or design and technology.

School Food Matters

School Food Matters is a charity campaigning for better access to sustainable healthy food during school time and quality food education. They are involved in many projects including:

Food growing

Teaching children where food comes from and how to grow your own fruit and vegetables is an important part of broader food education. The following websites will help link growing activities to your existing curricular and give you step by step support, resources and tips on how to grow successfully.

  • School Gardening Resources by Garden Organic. This offers visual guides on planting, looking after seedlings, and constructing beds to helpful posters. It is particularly useful if you are new to growing
  • School Growing Past Projects by Garden Organic. Read case studies and publications on how to set up growing activities to teach children about sustainability and climate change
  • Food Growing Resources by Trees for Cities. This website has everything around the curriculum, core competencies, and practical visual aids. You can find a complete 1 to 6 years booklet and subject links to secondary curricular for maths, art, literacy, D&T, HE and PSHE. There are videos and other visuals that you can print out and share with parents in your e-news
  • Food a Fact of Life guide to growing club offers useful tips and resources to get you started
  • Countryside classroom helps teachers to find resources, places to visit and school support relating to the themes of food, farming and natural environment
  • TGC Garden classroom provides resources and training to teachers to connect urban children and families with nature

Other resources

A range of other resources are also available from national organisations, including:

  • The Eating well recipe book for 5 to 18 year olds offers healthy recipes which can be shared with parents or used in cookery lessons 
  • Public Health England - School Zone provides curriculum-linked resources and inspiration to help you teach children about healthy eating and being active 
  • The NHS Food scanner app can help you find out if family favourites could be swapped for healthy alternatives
  • NHS Healthy recipes is a hub that gives families tips for breakfasts, packed lunches, dinners and desserts 
  • BEAT is the UK’s eating disorder charity, that provides support to those who are suffering from eating disorders and their carers. They also provide resources and Schools Professionals Online Training
  • Eat Like a Champ is a free six lesson programme designed to help children aged 9 to 10 learn about healthy, sustainable lifestyles
  • Public Health England: e-Bug is a free educational resource for learning about micro-organisms, the spread, prevention and treatment of infection
  • AYPH developed a lesson plan to explore with young people (KS3 to 5) called 'Fair and Equal Opportunity to Enjoy Good Health'