MEREAMA Marriner-Collins notes down what it says on the bread packaging.

STUDENTS from three classes at Opotiki Primary School are doing Foodstuff’s Food for Thought programme, run by the Heart Foundation.

Heart Foundation nutrition adviser Jane Johnsson said the students were learning to make healthy food choices.

Facilitated by Mrs Johnsson and her colleague, Sharon Pihema, the Food for Thought programme uses an inquiry-based learning approach to empower children in years 5 and 6.

“Students aged nine to 11 have developed an understanding of how to read food labels when they are at the supermarket,” Mrs Johnsson said.

“We help the children make healthier, informed nutrition choices and understand why they are making them.”

The programme was not about banning treat foods, but about helping children make more informed choices.

“It’s all about making it fun to make the right choice,” Mrs Johnsson said.

“While everything we do is based on facts, we get the children to understand simple things like how many spoonsful of sugar are in the average one-litre bottle of soft drink.”

The programme was free, fun and takes learning both inside and outside the classroom with in-class sessions as well as a visit to the Opotiki New World.

“It also fits into lots of different areas within the New Zealand education curriculum,” Mrs Johnsson said.

sven.carlsson@thebeacon.co.nz