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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Nutrition Education

SEL supports children’s growth, development and success academically, emotionally, socially and financially through school and into adulthood.

Read the latest blog on Social + Emotional Learning.

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) + Nutrition Education

As school communities incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into curricula and teaching practices, nutrition education can provide opportunities for students to develop fundamental SEL skills. Activities related to food naturally bring students together to build relationships, self-awareness, and other social-emotional skills, while also relating food and nutrition to their own health, culture and personal experiences. Read more on the ways to connect nutrition and SEL


Nutrition Education + SEL = Whole Child, Whole Health

Nutrition lessons and activities offer engaging and relatable topics for daily practice of the five SEL competencies from the CASEL framework.

  1. Self-Awareness: Food tasting and garden activities offer opportunities for hands-on exploration of foods and allows children to experience and describe foods with all senses while building self-awareness and relationship skills.

  2. Self-management: Educating students to pause before eating and to slow down while eating helps students develop the skills needed to manage impulse choices, set goals and practice self-Management skills.

  3. Social Awareness: Teaching students about where food comes from and introducing them to the parts of a whole remarkable food system builds social awareness and appreciation for the work it takes to bring food to our plate.

  4. Relationship Skills: Providing students with nutrition activities to complete at home and encouraging them to participate in grocery shopping and preparing meals builds nutrition knowledge, creates connection with family members and helps strengthen relationship skills.

  5. Responsible Decision-Making: Nutrition lessons empowers children to make healthy food choices, enabling them to be daily decision-makers for their own health and well-being.


Resources for Educators

Nutrition lessons and activities empower children to make healthy choices and can  provide opportunities to reinforce SEL learning.

Instructional Videos

 Lesson Plans and Activities

Resources for Families

After exploring resources on this page, consider sending educational resources to families to help encourage healthy eating practices that support SEL skill building at home.

Distance Learning Resources


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Tips to Incorporate SEL in Nutrition Education

Topics related to food naturally bring people together, encouraging discussion and skills practice.

Learn tips


School Nutrition Policies and Practices

Schools can support healthy school nutrition policies that include practices that support a positive social and emotional school climate and SEL core competencies.


Professional Development Support

Our team of local Community Nutrition Advisers are nutrition experts and can provide presentations and training on a variety of nutrition topics.  Reach out to local advisers to discuss your support needs.

How Does Nutrition Education Support SEL?

Megan Holdaway, RDN, discusses how SEL and nutrition education support health and wellbeing.

Watch here
Centers for Disease Control, CDC Healthy Schools. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/school_nutrition_sec.htm. Accessed February 16, 2021.
Centers for Disease Control. School Nutrition Policies and Practices Can Support the Social and Emotional Climate and Learning. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/nutrition/pdf/321123-A_FS_SchoolNutrition.pdf. Accessed February 16, 2021
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). What Is SEL? website. https://casel.org/what-is-sel/. Accessed March 1, 2021.
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Virtual Mobile Dairy Classroom

Take your students on a California dairy farm tour by signing up for a virtual field trip today!