Importance of Food Literacy

foodliteracy

Literacy is an abroad term; it means not only the ability to read and write but knowledge of specific factors. One can be literate in Mechanics but illiterate in Cooking. One can be literate in French but illiterate in Spanish. Literacy is not necessarily linked to language skills. It is a term that draws one’s ability and knowledge in an area. Food literacy is “the ability to make decisions about food to support the achievement of personal health and a sustainable food system, considering environmental, social, economic, cultural, and political contexts” (Nutrition Connection, 2019, p. 7).

Food and Nutrition

Food is essentially linked to all age groups and it can support us by preventing chronic diseases and boosting our energy, mood, and emotions. With guidance from adults who are literate in Food and nutrition, children can have healthy eating and become literate as well. The guidance by Nutrition Connection (2019) indicates having a policy for healthy eating will support children to have healthy eating skills and literacy of their own body’s nutritional needs. Having children learn to listen to their body and making choices accordingly will escalate them to “learn to enjoy and prefer healthy foods, thereby supporting them to develop and maintain healthy eating patterns” (p. 10).

Food literacy and children

Children need to get exposed to healthy food and to explore the different kinds of healthy selections. It can be a fun activity or even a monthly theme to explore various kinds of family and cultural food and eating preferences. There are so many layers to food and healthy eating ideas. Not only eating healthy food matters but also learning “how to respond to their hunger and fullness cues” (P.11).

Often children may act differently than other times when they are hungry, full, or thirsty, when children know what they are feeling or what they need, and how to ask for help or what to do, the behavior will be lessened and easier to approach. If these skills and knowledge are built up at an early age, it will support their adulthood food literacy as well. Eating healthy is an important part of food literacy but understanding the difference and variety of ideas of food and nutrition is critical for healthy living. They will know when, what, how, and why to eat and know how to approach with respect and ideas of understanding of the provided food. It is an opportunity for their life-long wellbeing.

References

Nutrition Connection. 2019. Policies that Influence Food Literacy among Children and Youth in Ontario. Retrieved from https://nutritionconnections.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/SOFL-Policy_FINAL4.pdf

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