By Justinne Lou Go, RND
I LOVE how Nutrition Month has been celebrated in schools annually for decades. It’s good to know that nutrition education is still valued in that sense, being given the spotlight for a whole month. It is everyone’s opportunity to learn about or be reminded of the value of nutrition to our health and society. And it is best done as early as possible, beginning with the youngest age group. Because, the earlier one knows about nutrition and its impact on one’s health, the better chances one has of developing healthy habits that can prevent one from developing lifestyle and chronic diseases. It is never too early to learn about nutrition.
Nutrition is generally about food and what it does to our bodies. And food is not just fuel, it is the essential factor needed for us to thrive and achieve our highest potential in life. So, nutrition is relevant to all of us no matter what age we may be.
Thirsty, a healthy beverage business that has been serving purely fresh fruit shakes and juices for 25 years, recently started a campaign called Rethink Your Drink. This campaign aims to bring awareness to children on the benefits of drinking fresh fruit shakes, which encourages them to choose these over more processed and less nutritious beverages. The campaign involves visiting selected schools in Cebu City and Davao City.
On its second year, Thirsty partnered with two Nutritionist-Dietitians—myself and Ms. Trixie Gayle Maraya — to visit selected schools with this year’s theme of “Eat the Rainbow.” The schools we visited in Cebu were Ateneo de Cebu, St. Benedict Childhood Education Centre, and Bright Academy. We talked to an audience ranging from pre-school to grade school students, introducing them to selected common local fruits served by Thirsty and their corresponding health facts and benefits. The fruits highlighted were banana, pineapple, coconut, and watermelon.
The talk was an interactive discussion, first introducing the children to general tips on healthy eating using the Pinggang Pinoy or Healthy Food Plate for Filipinos, further emphasizing on eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the most nutrients daily. And after introducing the highlighted fruits for the campaign with their health facts and benefits, the talk ended with a question and answer game where students who answered correctly each won a free shake and of course, a special guesting of Thirsty Shake and fruits mascots! It was truly a fun-filled day of learning about fruits and meeting some of the fruits themselves.
We were so privileged to be given the opportunity to be part of a campaign that promotes nutrition awareness, especially to the youth. We were able to see how much the children already knew about basic nutrition and how we could further guide them on making healthy food choices, which they can share to their families as well. Needless to say, the campaign was a success and we look forward to next year to continue the advocacy.