Cultivating Healthy Habits: A Finnish Approach to Supporting Healthy Eating in Schools

finnish education system

The commitment to holistic education in Finland extends beyond education to the overall well-being of students. An emphasis on healthy eating from an early age is a cornerstone of their educational philosophy. This blog explores the Finnish approach to supporting healthy eating in schools and the important role teachers play in fostering a lifelong focus on food.

1. Integration of nutrition education into the curriculum:

Finnish schools seamlessly weave nutrition education into their curriculum, ensuring that students not only develop academic skills but also gain a practical understanding of healthy eating. Lessons often include insight into where food came from, understanding nutrition, and gaining practical cooking skills.

2. Embracing locally sourced and seasonal foods:

Finnish schools prioritize seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, and encourage more sustainable and environmentally friendly choices. By incorporating fresh, local foods into school meals, teachers not only support the health of their students but also instill an appreciation for the importance of sustainable food practices.

3. School lunch culture social and educational experience:

Finnish schools treat lunchtime not just as a leisure activity but as a social and educational experience. Students enjoy healthy, balanced meals in the community, foster a healthy relationship with food and promote healthy eating habits. Teachers play an important role in facilitating this positive mealtime experience.

4. Collaborative Effort: Parent and community involvement:

Teachers in Finland understand the importance of collaborating with parents and communities to promote healthy eating habits. Workshops, conferences and collaborations involve parents in the process, resulting in an integrated approach to supporting students’ nutritional needs at home and at school.

5. Ensuring Good Food Environment:

It goes beyond the restaurant to provide quality food. Finnish schools prioritize the atmosphere in the dining areas, ensuring a welcoming and conducive relationship with food. Teachers actively engage students in discussions about food choices, helping them develop a sense of autonomy and responsibility for their food decisions.

6. Hands on Learning: School garden and cooking classes:

To supplement theoretical knowledge, Finnish schools often include hands-on learning experiences. School gardens and cooking classes give students practical skills and a deeper connection to the food they eat. Teachers guide students through the growing, harvesting and preparation of food, and foster a sense of accomplishment and connection to a healthy lifestyle.

7. Encouraging mindful eating behaviors:

Teachers in Finland emphasize the importance of mindfulness in eating. From tasting flavors to understanding hunger cues, students are encouraged to listen to their bodies and make conscious food choices. These practices contribute to a healthy relationship with food and a balanced approach to nutrition.

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In Finland, the commitment to support healthy eating in schools goes beyond just nutritional guidelines. Embedded in educational ethics is a holistic approach, where teachers play an important role in promoting the physical and mental well-being of students. By integrating nutrition education, embracing local and seasonal foods, promoting healthy food environments and encouraging hands-on learning experiences, Finnish schools set a model that extends beyond the classroom , and shape future generations that last a lifetime based on virtue. Find out more about Finnish educational innovation and holistic approach at the Finland Education Hub.

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