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Teens Teaching Teens About Healthy Eating

David Presents Common Ingredients
David Presents Common Ingredients
How much do you know about healthy eating? Pop quiz: How large is one serving of cheese? What is the difference between natural and artificial flavoring? What is a processed food? Who has the power in the food system?

Here at The Food Project, teens teach teens about these important issues. This summer, TFP youth interns Colleen Corporan, Judy Merisier, and David McGourty led workshops for teenagers in TFP's Summer Youth Program highlighting what is in the food that we eat and various issues to consider when deciding what to eat.

Colleen, Judy, and David led discussions about important topics such as serving size, processed foods, food advertising, sugar, sodium, and flavoring. Rather than telling their audience which foods to eat, the youth facilitators led them through a series of activities and discussions to get them thinking about what is in their food, how their foods got to them, and what effect different foods can have on their bodies.

One section of the workshop focused on recommended serving sizes. Participants attempted to match common household items such as a bar of soap, a match book, and a tennis ball to the appropriate serving of certain foods. For instance, one serving of carbohydrates is approximately the size of a bar of soap; one serving of cheese is the size of a matchbook; and one serving of fruits or vegetables is the size of a tennis ball. How many people out there make a sandwich with only a matchbook-sized portion of cheese?

Later, the youth discussed the similarities and differences between natural and artificial flavoring and read out loud the ingredients in a McDonald's strawberry milkshake. As they stumbled through many long and unfamiliar terms, they realized that one key ingredient was missing: strawberries. The "strawberry" flavor was actually a combination of artificial flavorings and other ingredients.

At the end of the workshop, the youth split into small groups to discuss what they had learned. By the end of the discussions, each person decided on one commitment - completely of their choosing - that they will make to themselves to guide their future food choices.


For more information about The Food Project's youth programs, check out our youth programs website.

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