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International School Meals Day

March 8th 2021| Michael Mountford

International School Meals Day

The ISMD theme for 2021 is “Eat for the health of it“, exploring affordable, nutritious foods and links between food and nutrition and children’s physical and mental health.

This is the ninth ISMD, and will be both a great celebration and the chance to bring together children and communities across the world to share their experiences, stories and news.

ISMD aims to encourage children and young people around the world (with support from their teachers) to connect and talk to each other about the food they eat and the role that it plays in their lives.

This year’s theme encourages pupils to think about their favourite food, and nutrition projects they’ve been part of, and to learn about which foods make them feel healthy, give them more energy or help them concentrate better at school.

In the run-up to the day, school staff can encourage young people to think about and discuss their favourite foods and meals in the way that is best suited to their particular learning environment. The main thing is to celebrate the rich diversity of recipes that is sure to exist in every classroom.

Food is a Mood

How to Manage Your Mood With Food

Tips to help you explore the relationship between what you eat and how you feel. Improving your diet can help give you:

  • Positive feelings
  • Clearer thinking
  • More energy
  • Calmer moods

For more information, please take a look here, at the website for the charity known as Mind.

Eating Healthy

Making sure to eat a very healthy and well balanced diet can do a lot to help with your mood and overall health. So here are just a few tips that I’ve found from various reputable charities and organisations.

  • Take Small Steps

Making changes can be really tough – especially if you’re feeling low. It might help to start by making small changes rather than changing your whole diet suddenly.

  • Plan Ahead

Finding the time to eat well can often be really difficult. If you have times when you’re feeling well and enjoying preparing food, try making some extra meals to store. You could make enough to last for several days, and freeze them in portions to use at times when you can’t face cooking.

  • Take Care of Yourself

We can often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to eat a healthy diet, but it’s also important to enjoy the food you eat and not be too hard on yourself.

Remember that other factors can help improve your mental health as well, such as:

  • Getting physically active (especially outdoors to boost your vitamin D levels)
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Maintaining good relationships

Healthy Eating Activities

According to nutritionists, developing a healthier relationship with food can be as simple as slowing down, acknowledging sensations and allocating appropriate time and space for eating.

Let’s look at some healthy eating activities you can use to support your lesson plans:

  • 1. What Would Batman Eat?

According to a study, children are more likely to make healthy food choices if these choices are associated with favourite role models. It’s known as the ‘What Would Batman Eat?’ activity as children were asked if they thought Batman would choose a healthy food or an unhealthy food.

Children who linked the role model to the healthy food option were significantly more likely to choose it for themselves later.

Turn this idea into a fun game by asking pupils to pick a role model and 1-3 healthy foods that they might like to eat. In pairs, they should take turns guessing one another’s healthy choices.

Bonus Activity: Ask pupils to create a short story or comic strip featuring both their chosen role model and healthy foods. Does Spiderman eat a juicy orange before chasing bad guys? Is Batman partial to a bowl of healthy porridge before saving the city?

  • 2. EatWell Olympics

With a good understanding of the EatWell categories, children should be able to match foods to their correct food groups.

There are four major food groups (five if you want to include sugar): protein, dairy, grains and fruits and vegetables. Assign a simple movement to each group. For example, star jumps for grains, a squat for proteins, etc. Ask pupils to stand. As you randomly call out foods, the children should match them to the right groups by performing the assigned move.

Bonus Activity: For a fun twist, ask pupils to form small groups and create a short dance routine that features all four EatWell moves.

  • 3. Veggie Voting

This activity gives children an opportunity to learn about vegetables and develop their speaking and presenting skills at the same time. Either individually or in small groups, randomly assign your pupils a vegetable. They must create a three minute presentation – a speech, a PowerPoint, a poster, etc. – designed to persuade their peers to eat it. Give pupils time to research and plan their presentations. Hold a vote after each one to see how many people it convinced. 

Bonus Activity: To add movement, introduce a beanbag for those who want to ask questions. Listeners may only speak if they stand and catch the beanbag thrown to them by a presenting pupil. They must throw it back when done talking.


We here at Teacher’s Pet have been hard at work to bring you some brand new and amazing resources all to do with ISMD. Click here to see all of our brand new ISMD Resources.

Have a great day!

We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for how to teach about International School Meals Day.

If you have any great teaching ideas for this topic, feel free to comment below and they might even get added to the topic calendar!

View all posts by: Michael Mountford
Categories: Topic Calendar
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