Healthy, delicious recipes, plentiful information, hands-on projects and activities targeted at the whole family, “Nutrition 101: Choose Life” is a 448 page resource that you can use for years of study. Published by Growing Healthy Homes, “Nutrition 101” is divided into 6 Units covering the 1.) Brain and Nervous System; 2.) Digestive system; 3.) Respiratory, Visual, Auditory and Olfactory systems; 4.) Skeletal and Muscular Systems; 5.) Cardiovascular and Immune Systems; and 6.) The Endocrine System.
Each Unit has four chapters which describe the body system and how it works, explain common health problems related to the system and list foods that are specifically harmful to proper system function. “Nutrition 101” also expounds upon the nutrients, minerals and vitamins essential for healthy function and gives ideas and recipes for incorporating them into your diet.
At the end of each chapter there are activities listed for elementary students as well as secondary students, discussion questions, additional resources and a Power Recipe that makes use of some of the foods that are particularly beneficial for the body system that you are studying. There are additional activities that are tied to each recipe. All these additional activities allow children of all ages to participate and reinforce the material covered in the chapters.
The power recipe for the first chapter, The Brain, is Guacamole. Seriously, this stuff is wonderful. We’ve already made it 4 times! Some of the activities that go with this recipe include learning how to pick out fresh, ripe produce from the grocery by using an extensive 7 page chart provided in the Appendix, setting up an experiment to see how to get avocados to ripen more quickly, growing an avocado plant and determining the fat grams in one serving of the Guacamole. There are several more activities which allow you to pick and choose those that appeal to your family.
This book is chock full of information, activities, ideas and resources and is lovely to boot. With numerous full color diagrams, photos, and charts along with fun facts throughout each chapter your children will be looking over your shoulder to see all there is to see.
In addition to the main text there is an expansive Appendix with more than 130 pages of informative articles, helpful graphs and more recipes. Articles on baking with whole grains (including several recipes), the milk debate, asthma, sugar alternatives, a nail health guide (including recipes for nourishing your nails) and toxins in personal care products offer more information and ideas for health improvement. The information included in the Appendix can be used as a general health resource or to supplement the information in the chapters.
What we thought:
Our family took three days a week to cover one chapter of “Nutrition 101: Choose Life”. I gave the children a brief synopsis of what was covered in the chapter on day 1. On day 2 we reviewed and discussed important points or went over and labeled some of the diagrams and completed an activity or two. On day 3 we made the recipe, did the accompanying activities and enjoyed the fruits of our labor. This pace allowed us to cover what we wanted without overwhelming our other subjects.
The text of “Nutrition 101” is written much like I remember my college texts, with a copious amount of new terms, information and important points piled together in a dense package that takes time to study and digest. It is not something that you can simply read over and garner the key points. It also tends to be dry and cover a vast amount of information without going much into the why and how, although there is some how and why contained in the Appendices.
This resource is not a plug and play curriculum. You must either be content to use it as a type of overview, as our family is doing, or you must be willing and have the time to delve into these chapters, pull together additional resources and use this a basis to custom build a curriculum that will fit your family’s needs. For both of those purposes the program can be a good fit. There is enough information in this book to use it for several consecutive years focusing on different aspects, but it will take time to figure out exactly how you would prefer to implement it with your family and what your focus will be.
The recipes and activities are our favorite parts of the book. Our children love the hands-on activities (For example, “In the morning brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. In the evening brush your teeth with your dominant hand. Then discuss.”) and they provoke conversation and sometimes more research. We all enjoy the recipes and the activities that coordinate with those. So we are focusing primarily on the activities and recipes and getting an overview of the body systems and the power foods that help them through the text. This works for us!
Growing Healthy Homes offers Nutrition 101: Choose Life on CD-ROM for $79.95, in traditional book form for $99.95 or a combination with the CD-ROM and the book for $129.95. There is also information on the site about using the book in a co-op and they offer special pricing for purchasing a multiple user license.
You may read my reviews of other products on the Raising Olives Review Page.
Our family received a complimentary copy of Nutrition 101 so that I could review it on this blog. All opinions are our own.
This post is included in the Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup.