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By Roger Smitheducational writer

Whet children’s appetites for a creative topic on food with this thought-provoking assembly

Supermarket trolley

For advice on setting up a veggie patch in your school, see our creative topic, and ‘Vegetable patch’ poster and activity sheets.

Introduction

Tell the children that we all need a balanced diet to live a healthy life and it is also important to make sure that everyone in the world has enough to eat.

Main assembly

  • Ask the children to share with everyone what their favourite foods are. Encourage them to share positive food experiences, such as celebrations and festivals, as well as give a selection of healthy and unhealthy foods that they enjoy. Remind them that we should all eat lots of fruit, vegetables and salad, and avoid large quantities of the unhealthy options – but that nothing should be considered ‘bad’ food. Everything is healthy in moderation if we lead an active lifestyle.
  • Explain that there are basic foods all over the world that are extremely important. In Europe, one of them is the potato. Ask what foods the children eat that derive from the humble spud (mash, crisps, chips, roast potatoes, soups, and so on). The children will probably realise that they eat some form of potato most days of the week!
  • Talk about how, like the potato in Europe, rice forms part of the staple diet in India, Southeast Asia, Japan and China. Similarly, show the children a bag of flour and explain that it is made from wheat – a grain like rice – that is eaten all over the world, mainly as bread.
  • Explain that popular foods, such as pizza, have their bases made from wheat flour as do many pasta varieties. (Take a look at our pizza recipe card.)
  • Explain that basic foods, including potatoes and grass crops such as rice, wheat, oats, and so on, all grow in the ground and need the Sun and water to grow. They need the right climate or the crops will fail and people will go hungry.
  • Show the children a potato and ask them where they think it has come from. It will probably be English but it may still have travelled hundreds of miles. You could hold up other foods and discuss the journeys they’ve made, such as bananas (South America – more than 5000 miles) and tomatoes (Italy – more than 900 miles).
  • Explain the concept of air miles and how they are linked to the energy used to transport certain foods to the UK. Ask the children to think about a meal that they enjoy and to consider how far the ingredients may have travelled.
  • Ask the children how many of them have gone home and said ‘I’m starving’. Explain the difference between ‘starving’ and ‘hungry’, and how although there is enough food in the world for everyone, there are children who get very little to eat and are lucky to eat one meal a day.
  • Back in the classroom, older children could devise a menu that only uses food from the UK (so the ingredients have less miles to travel). For more information on UK foods see ‘Cooking around the world: The UK’ in Junior Ed PLUS, March ‘09.

Closing thought or prayer

All of us in this room today have enough to eat and it can be a healthy mix of all kinds of different foods. Think about children from other countries who don’t have enough to eat, who can’t choose what they eat and who don’t have a fair share of the world’s food.

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