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Healthy eating lessons: Thaghkadzor school celebrates ISMD

Just fancy you are young detectives exploring the world of healthy products. You are searching for the most important heroes: representatives of the four groups of a healthy plate, which are fruits, vegetables, protein products, and whole grains. With your faithful partner - famous detective Potato Mash - you run in the footsteps of the healthy digestion violator, the mysterious criminal Hamburger, unravel hidden messages, penetrate the gangsters’ hideout on a skateboard, and communicate with the help of body language. This is how primary school children of the Tsaghkadzor secondary school in the Kotayk marz celebrated a fabulous International School Meals Day. First things first, though!

On March 14, 2024, the world celebrated the 12th anniversary of International School Meals Day, a day when we remind adults and children of the value of eating a well-balanced diet, both at home and school, to be intelligent and healthy.

This year's celebration theme was “Innovation in School Meals: New Routes to Sustainable Nutrition.”

A traditional week dedicated to healthy eating was held at the Tsaghkadzor secondary school in the Kotayk marz of Armenia from March 11 to 15 to become a true celebration for all participants of the educational program.

The week was organized by the UN World Food Programme, SIFI, and the School Feeding and Child Welfare Agency (SFCW).

Investigating the world of healthy products: the school of young detectives

The first day began with an exciting classroom hour dubbed “The School of Young Detectives.” The schoolchildren, together with their teachers, explored the world of healthy foods, learned how to make a “healthy plate” and heard about ways to reduce food waste.

The children were so impressed by the lesson that they enthusiastically shared photos of their healthy plates from home and packed healthy lunchboxes for school the next day. They were happy to acquire healthy eating skills and eagerly discussed which foods were the healthiest.

Armed with knowledge about healthy products, young detectives solved "cases" every day of the school week according to the advent calendar tasks, identifying the “representatives” of four groups of the healthy plate: fruits, vegetables, protein-containing foods, and whole grains.

The final day, March 15, turned into a real adventure for the schoolchildren. The young detectives participated in a team game that not only entertained them but also taught them the importance of taking care of their health.

They had to pass the tests that any detective in the world of healthy products faces in their work: track down the offender using the traces left behind, decipher a secret message from the world of healthy foods, ride a skateboard into the gangster hideout, find the ‘criminal’ product based on the amount of sugar it contains, learn body language and even conduct an investigative experiment in a chemical laboratory.

Masterclass with nutritionist: handy tips for caring parents

While the children immersed themselves in the detective adventure, their parents gathered for a comprehensive healthy plate masterclass offered by Armen Mkrtchyan, a nutritionist from the SFCW Agency. Throughout the session, they revealed various factors affecting health, discussed the adverse effects of excessive salt and sugar in the diet, and learned to apply the recommendations of international experts to limit the consumption of these harmful products.

In another activity, parents worked in small groups to assemble healthy breakfasts, lunches, or dinners using a selection of products provided.

After the theoretical part, the parents got down to a practical lesson, applying their knowledge to make healthy and nutritious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

This week proved unforgettable, leaving its participants with bright memories and useful souvenirs: healthy plate magnets and healthy lifestyle calendars for children with a set of interesting thematic tasks for each day of the month.

The results of a survey conducted among teachers and parents confirmed that the event was a real success. Teachers demonstrated a keen interest in holding such activities on a regular basis, while parents already started introducing the acquired knowledge into everyday life.

The festive week not only helped children and parents comprehend the importance of a balanced diet but also contributed to the formation of healthy eating habits in the family.