Food is Elementary

Food is Elementary: Students learn healthy food is fun!

The Food Studies Institute promotes the long-term health and education of elementary school children through curriculum development, multi-media publishing, teacher training, and consulting on the implementation of a unique curriculum integrating academic disciplines with experiential learning about food, nutrition, culture and the arts. As a non-profit, tax exempt, corporation, we also assist schools to incorporate low-fat, high fiber, nutritious entrees into school meals and to involve parents and guardians in their children’s food education.

“Food education is a critical area of study that has been sadly neglected in most educational environments. In my research, peer reinforcement played a major role in influencing children to try new foods.” Dr. Antonia Demas

A couple of years ago, I attended a Conference for Conscious Living at Northwestern University. One of the speakers was Dr. Antonia Demas. She has developed the most incredible food education curriculum I can imagine. I watched her 10 minute video and I was hooked.

I then had the awesome experience of teaching this award winning curriculum for the 2003/2004 school year in my son’s 2nd grade class.

The key concept was experiential learning through engaging all of the senses. Students, in cooperation with their peers, cooked dishes from all over the world. Studying the foods of a particular culture, we learned about history, music, geography, literature, social structures, art, etc… We also applied mathematical concepts through weighing, measuring, estimating and otherwise quantifying foods.

The curriculum is meant to work in conjunction with the school lunch program using USDA commodity foods in the recipes.

Please visit www.FoodStudies.org to learn more!

A portion of profits from the sale of my DVDs will go
toward Dr. Demas’s not-for-profit food studies institute.

Parent comments from the 2003/2004 school year in my son’s 2nd grade class …

“I certainly have noticed a significant difference in Tanvis’ eating habits recently. In sharp contrast to last year, he will often decline sweets stating that they’re not healthy. Another surprising change has been his unprecedented willingness to try new things.” — Danute Kuncas

“Fast food intake, for example has been greatly reduced in our family. By his choice! Camrin seems to want to try new foods even if they are green or orange in color. He understands that variety can lead to better nutrition.” — Deidre Opp

“Before he started in the program he would never even consider trying anything he had not tasted in the past, I believe this in itself has been a huge positive step towards eating healthy. Thank You.” — Margaret Banke

“I have noticed a change in Jamie’s eating habits during the year. She has asked me not to pack a dessert, or only a very small one, in her lunch. She also asks for healthier snacks at home, such as vegetables and dip or fruit. She certainly still snacks, but seems to be more aware of different food options and what they mean to her body.

Jamie is very enthusiastic on Wednesdays after school and eager to share with me what she has learned. She has tried several new foods and liked them. She has also asked me to buy some of the foods so she can eat them at home. She particularly likes the chance or trying new foods in the classroom. I strongly recommend continuing the Food is Elementary curriculum in Monroe School next year.” — Mindy and Michael Adamson

“Kai has learned to check out fat grams and sodium, for instance, on the boxes of cereal and cookies that we buy from the grocery stores. When we have a very healthy snack, we always say that “Mrs. Ovnik would approve.” It’s nice to have another person as a referent point in arguing against McDonald’s and the constant stream of candies and other delights with which we are being bombarded.” — Carolyn Stanek

“Kyrstin comes home, excited after you’ve visited the class and willing to try things I wouldn’t even begin to think an 8 year old would like to eat (barley, artichoke, black beans, etc.) You certainly have her attention and my appreciation!” — Kymberlie Gee

“Thank you so much for your dedication for the Food is Elementary program this year. My daughter Meredith has enjoyed it immensely and I look forward to Wednesday afternoons when she comes home and shares that day’s nutrition tips with me.

As a result of your class, she has become very aware of nutrition. My favorite story came one day when we went to McDonald’s for lunch. While my two sons each wanted a happy meal, Merideth ordered a salad. She then proceeded to tell me that although her salad was healthier than the happy meals, it was still not that healthy because the lettuce leaves were not dark green. In fact, I almost went into shock when she recently asked me to buy spinach! All of this from a child who, prior to your class, would not eat anything green. If only her brothers would follow suit.

It is my hope that this program will become a regular part of the elementary school curriculum.” — Alisa Anderson

Read the Hinsdale Illinois newspaper article (pdf)

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