Children eat ‘portion size me’?

577dc32f-d9cd-45e0-a40b-a9b66f47bc1bYour children today need nutrition and food education along with the skills necessary, such as gardening and cooking, to help them consciously choose what foods to buy and eat in order to maintain optimal health.

Marshall Reid came home from his school in North Carolina, US one day and decided enough was enough, because he was prevented from taking pictures of school meals for  blog.

Marshall, 12 year old has always been overweight and was being bullied constantly.  He decided it was time for him to do the opposite of “supersize me” and with the help of his mother, he started to live by something he calls “portion size me“, video blogging about his experiences.

The family sat down and came up with six goals that they felt would help them get to that one big goal of being healthy.  .

Marshall now works to raise more awareness about how eating healthily and being healthy can make for a happier life. He is just one of the children across the world taking an interest in health and nutrition and sharing their experiences.

Why have children started to engage so much with their food?

The Reids said they were inspired by British chef Jamie Oliver, and the feeling seems to have been mutual. Marshall is one of the chef’s “Food Revolution heroes”. After food education events that Marshall organised, Alex Reid said that other children would come up and say they couldn’t wait to go home and cook for their parents.

The charity runs sessions in which chefs go into schools and they find themselves inundated.

“When we take chefs to school who know that we can only accommodate let’s say 15 students in a cooking session run by a chef,” said Isla Meynell from School Food Matters. They have learned lessons from what has been going on around the world in recent years.

At around the same time as Jamie Oliver was addressing schools in London, Alice Waters was working on her Edible Schoolyard, said Isla Meynell.

The organisation believes that cookery and an understanding of where food comes from has never been more important. The food environment is completely different to what it was 50 years ago, so people have got to be able to navigate this new world.

In 2010 the University of California, Berkeley, completed a study of the School Lunch Initiative, a food education scheme in the US.

It found that children who attended schools that included teaching about cooking and growing food exhibited better knowledge about making healthy food choices, better attitudes about food, and improved eating habits.

Marshall Reid is doing his bit to try to keep public attention focused on the issue. Perhaps the important thing about his “portion size me” campaign is the effect that the changes have had on his life.

“I can think better, I can think clearer, I have better grades in school, I’m faster, I can run longer”.

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