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Dietary Choices During the Pandemic
Written by Shinyong Park | Published. 2021.04.26 20:22 | Count : 535

Recently in Korea, the story of Minji Kim, a nutritionist who provided lobster for school meals, became a hot topic because of the dietary choices she made.

She drew the attention of various media, saying that she received great reactions from her school students. Recently, Minji Kim has been scouted by a private company as a nutritionist. As a nutritionist, she always struggled to satisfy her students' nutritional needs and their dietary flavor. What are the ways to fulfill dietary needs and taste like the nutritionist for the health of teenagers?

Amid Covid-19 pandemic, moving restrictions may also lead to a lack of exercise for teenagers. Therefore, we need more interest in healthy diets as well as various exercise methods for the health care of teenagers.

Korean teenagers irregularly go to school due to the government restriction. Thus, they are also irregularly changing their lunch time and places. Specifically, when students go to school, they would eat lunch at their schools. However, they eat at home when they have online classes. Parents who have to take care of their children's lunch during online classes are likely to worry about their children's diet.

Therefore, it seems that school and home support are needed to make sure that students are eating healthy diets.

According to data from Statistics Korea in 2019, 25.5 percent of Korean teenagers eat fast-foods more than three times a week. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, sales of fast-food restaurants—with foods that are easy to pack and deliver—were relatively good in 2020 under the Covid situation. Based on the results of these surveys, we can see that teenagers are in a situation where they can enjoy fast food even easier than before the Covid situation. In particular, as the number of convenience stores increases, the temptation of fast food grows for teenagers.

[Food delivered by ‘배달의 민족’, a food delivery service in Korea. Photo Credit: Shinyong Park]

Thus, it is time for parents to pay attention and effort to their children's health at home, and for schools to pay more attention to their lunch. I interviewed Koo, a high school nutritionist at Korea International School Jeju Campus. I asked how we can manage the diets of the students during this situation.

Koo recommends that students eat a lot of seasonal foods as they are good for improving immunity. Also, seasonal foods enable us to eat more at the same price, since they are cheaper than other products. He says that if parents let students know there is limited time to enjoy seasonal food and share information about the foods, they would try seasonal foods that they don't usually eat. 

Also, Koo answered that the school is also adding seasonal foods to the menus. He explains that the school also increased the amount of meat by about 8% to boost the immunity of students.

[Interview with Koo. Photo Credit: Jenny Hwang]

For teenagers who are growing up, to stay healthy during the Covid situation, proper eating habits along with exercise are essential. Just as parents at home pay attention to their children's diets, school nutritionists were also making a lot of efforts for their students' diets.

Teenagers themselves also need to take note of their health and eat healthier diets rather than fast foods.

It is time for everyone to help teenagers overcome the Covid situation healthily both at home and at school through seasonal foods and immune-boosting foods.

Shinyong Park
Grade 11
Korea International School Jeju Campus

Shinyong Park  student_reporter@dherald.com

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