Photo from tribecanutrition.com
In 1974, then-Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos declared the month of July as “Nutrition Month” by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 491. The decree, known as the Nutrition Act of the Philippines, also marked the creation of the National Nutrition Council.
The declaration of “Nutrition Month” had the “purpose of creating greater awareness among our people on the importance of nutrition,” with specific themes each year. For 2015, the theme is “Timbang iwasto sa tamang nutrisyon at ehersisyo” (i.e. Correct weight through right nutrition and exercise).
Besides the activities organized by the National Nutrition Council, National Nutrition Month is also commemorated in most Philippine schools. To make the commemoration more meaningful for your child, here are some things you can do together at home and elsewhere:
1. Read children’s books with nutrition-themed topics.
Reading a book together with your child can do wonders to increase his or her retention of a certain topic — and it's fun to do!
Some suggestions for your read-and-cuddle time with your kid are Alamat ng Ampalaya, Ang Kamatis ni Peles and Araw sa Palengke from Adarna Books, and Bahay Kubo, A First Look at Philippine Fruits, The Tale of Lady Cabbage and Why the Piña Has a Hundred Eyes: And Other Philippine Folk Tales About Fruits from Tahanan Books.
Although the abovementioned titles are not completely about nutrition, you can introduce the topic of healthy eating (especially consuming more vegetables and fruits) to your child.
2. Watch a children’s play or children’s shows related to nutrition.
Did you know that Alamat ng Ampalaya, which was mentioned earlier, already has a musical based on its storyline?
“Ampalaya the Musical,” which had its most recent run from July 3-6, 2015 at the Claire Isabel McFGill Luce Auditorium in Silliman University, is set to delight young and old alike on July 15, 2015, at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The play is sure to be fun, entertaining and educational for your child. (Tip: If you can, read the book before you watch it!)
If you won’t be able to catch the musical, you can still let your child watch shows that are related to nutrition in one way or another. You can search for nutrition for kids on YouTube, or check out the following videos for starters:
Kapitan Basa – Kulay-Gulay Episode (Batibot)
Bible Verse: Kumain ng gulay
Book Eat the Rainbow – Alphabet Rockers Show about Nutrition
Sid the Science Kid: I Want Cake
Just make sure you are present when your kids watch the videos, to make sure everything is age-appropriate and child-friendly!
3. Engage in pretend play.
Kids love pretend play — and my kids are no exception! My daughter especially loves to play “Supermarket” and “Restaurant,” and enjoys it even more when I join in the fun.
Encourage your child to play “Restaurant” and/or “Supermarket” too, and focus on healthy and nutritious food items that you can include in your “menu” or “grocery list.” This is also a great way to introduce the names of vegetables and fruits that your child may not be so familiar with, and why such foods are good for them (and us parents too!).
Related: 10 Ideas to Encourage Pretend Play
4. Go on a nutrition-themed “field trip.”
Visit places that feature exhibits or items that can help you explain nutrition and healthy eating to your child. One such place is Museo Pambata, which has exhibits like “My Body Works” and “Pamilihang Bayan” (a row of “neighborhood stores” that include fruit and veggie stalls).
Of course, a simple trip to the supermarket or palengke can also be a “field trip” where your kid can learn about different food items that make us healthy. (Tip: Try reading Araw sa Palengke before you go on your market adventure!)
5. Binge on healthy food.
Of course, one of the best ways to introduce nutrition and healthy eating to our kids is to actually eat food that is good for us. For ideas on what healthy foods you can give to your child, here are a few links to some helpful articles:
The 10 Healthiest Foods for Growing Kids
5 Simple Ways to Serve Healthier Meals at Home
We all know that healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle are important when it comes to the development of our kids. Let us do our best, then, to teach our children its value so that they can grow up to lead quality lives.
February 19, 2015. “2015 nutrition month to focus on obesity.” Retrieved from rappler.com