Nutrition Ed Through Visual Media

By: Anamarie Bergman

To me, being a dietitian entails helping people change their relationship with food or improving their intakes to benefit their health. My rotation at the Frederick County Farm to School Program allowed me to do just that with a video I created for school-aged children. Farm to school (F2S) empowers children to make healthy food choices and gives them access to healthy, locally grown foods in cafeterias. F2S is a movement in the county connecting children to their food, their communities and to farmers. I saw how Alysia, the F2S program director, connected with farmers to provide fresh produce to the schools, while also providing ample nutrition education to the students through different types of media. One example is the engaging video series called “Harvest of the month.”  Harvest of the month videos highlight specific fruits or vegetables in season for each month of the year. This series provides education to students to promote seasonal eating, healthy diets and support the local economy. 

During my two-week rotation with F2S, I spent the majority of my time creating a harvest of the month video on kale. Kale, a green, leafy, cruciferous vegetable is chock full of nutrients and is locally grown, making it an ideal choice. There were many steps involved in creating the video, including writing the outline and script, selecting the educational material and ideas, and filming and editing.

I found developing an outline for the video to be the most challenging aspect of the video production, but in the process I learned how important it is to create a script that resonates with the viewer. The most important steps I learned when writing an outline were identifying the goal, tailoring the video to the audience, selecting the specific topic, defining key takeaways and adding a call-to-action. The purpose of my video was to inform my audience, the students, about how kale grows, the parts of the leaf and the vitamins and minerals it contains. These topics were included to ensure the video was visually engaging, educational, exciting and to emphasize the importance and benefits of vitamins and minerals, in hopes of encouraging children to eat more local vegetables. 

Another vital aspect to the video was inspiring the kiddos to create kale recipes. I did this in two ways. First, I recorded the steps to creating a recipe. Additionally, in order to ensure kids were excited about eating the vegetable and creating the recipe themselves, I provided a kid-friendly recipe in the video they could easily make with their parents. My preceptor emphasized that in addition to my recipe being kid-friendly, it also needed to be safe for kids to prepare. It needed to be executed without using sharp utensils or stovetops and had to contain all three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats – so the kids could  see visuals of a balanced meal.  I decided on a simple, tasty kale salad. Since kale has to be massaged and can be torn into pieces with your hands, I knew kids would love making this salad themselves. 

Once I finished writing the script and deciding on a recipe, then I moved on to filming and editing. After learning about different kinds of shots for filming, I filmed half of the content myself at the farms we visited in the county. By using footage from local farms, the students were able to make a connection with the farms in their area and see how the food that is served in the school cafeteria is grown. Furthermore, I learned how to use videos from Canva and to transfer them to Wevideo, the video editing software I was required to use. While I had never used Wevideo before, I learned it quickly and now am proficient using it! One of the tips I learned while editing the video is the importance of switching shots every 8 seconds or less to keep the audience engaged, especially for young children. Adding background music and recording your voice for the script were the final steps in editing. Adjusting your voice to a tone acceptable for students made the video more personal and engaging. 

Producing a creative, educational video is an excellent way of getting kids engaged and excited about nutrition. I learned that creativity is important when developing the outline for the video and choosing the key elements to ensure it is both educational and entertaining. Thus, it’s essential to create the outline before writing the script. If your educational video includes a kid-friendly recipe, ensure the recipe contains all three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats – so the kids can see visuals of a balanced meal.  When I filmed and edited the video, I worked to connect the content to the audience in order to reach them and keep it concise. Producing an educational video is not an easy task, but it is very rewarding. It’s a great feeling watching the video after it has been completed, knowing it provides nutrition education to the students and promotes local farmers and the farm to school program. When it comes to educating kids on nutrition, an educational video that includes these tips is an excellent choice.  

Check out my educational kale video below. 

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