The EATWISE Experience

By Shawna-Gay
August 23, 2016

From a very young age, I’ve always asked myself: “What is the purpose of summer”? As I grew older, I came to the realization that it’s about taking a break from working hard in school and, most importantly, a way to spend quality time with your family and learn a lot about yourself outside of the classroom.

At the same time, I’ve never enjoyed summer.  All I did was sit at home and watch TV, wishing I had more stimulation.  I couldn’t wait for school to return. It wasn’t until this summer that EATWISE changed the way I view summer. EATWISE allowed me to grow from an introverted student to an optimistic, outgoing young lady, who isn’t afraid to get lost and find her way back around New York City.

EATWISE gave me the best summer I’ve had thus far. It has been a life-changing experience for many of us. It gave us the opportunity to try new things and step out of our comfort zones. Learning about food justice, poverty, nutrition, and health gave a purpose to my summer.
Shawna-Gay is an EATWISE (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating) Intern, part of Food Bank For New York City’s teen nutrition education program.


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Welcome to EATWISE

By Annie, Alondra and Jaynaba

Welcome to!

What is EATWISE?

We are a group of teens who are empowered to make a difference in our communities. We inform others about their food choices and try to make New York City healthier and have healthy food accessible to everyone. This summer we are focusing on Health and Nutrition, Food Justice, and Poverty in order to bring awareness about the amount of hunger and food insecurity throughout the city.

We work throughout the five different boroughs in the city, and give back by working at food pantries, soup kitchen and community farms. We recently worked with another teen group at Bedstuy Campaign Against Hunger, and plan on presenting nutrition workshops for children and adults.

Do you know anyone who has suffered with food insecurity?

Food insecurity is when people don’t have access to the food they need; there might be days when families don’t have enough to eat. Hunger is a huge problem in New York City, with 1.4 million New Yorkers relying on soup kitchens and food pantries to eat. We hope to bridge the gap between those who have the resources they need and those who don’t. Since we are a part of Food Bank we have the opportunity to work with the food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the city. Through these resources, we can directly reach those who need help.

We are faced with decisions every day, and for most of us, one of those decisions revolves around healthier choices in our eating habits. Our mission is to first help the population of those who need food, and then to help them make healthier choices about what they eat. In order to bring awareness to health and nutrition, we create workshops to reach both children and adults.

Stay tuned for our upcoming posts, so you can help those around you who may be dealing with food insecurities, and so you can learn more about how to make your own healthy choices!

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Our Shop Healthy Summer

By Annie

This summer the EATWISE interns partnered with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to make over six bodegas and supermarkets in the East Tremont neighborhood in the South Bronx. The goal of this partnership, called “Shop Healthy Bronx,” was to make nutritious options more accessible where people shop.

When we first entered a store, we used an evaluation assessment sheet to look for the important things we might have to change. Was the water at eye level? Did the deli offer a “combo” of healthy items for one price? Were nuts and dried fruits available? Did the ads on the walls promote unhealthy food? If something was missing we marked it down on our assessment sheet. Once we completed our evaluation we repositioned products and put up healthy marketing signs.

Most of the bodega owners allowed us to move water to eye level and soda to the bottoms of shelves or fridges. This encourages shoppers to grab a bottle of water instead of a sugary drink, since people tend to take what is placed right in front of them.

We also hung “shelf talkers” next to price tags. These signs promote healthier choices. For example, some say “Choose whole wheat pasta, oatmeal and brown rice,” “Look for canned products that are low in sodium,” and “Choose 1% or fat-free milk.” Sometimes customers don’t know that there are healthier options because they don’t look at the labels. Our shelf talkers help them easily find the better choices. The EATWISE teens also put up price tags with eye-catching words like fresh, ripe or juicy next to fresh produce to market whole foods. This encourages buyers to select fresh fruit instead of a bag of chips or candy.

In addition, we often moved food stands holding nutritious items in front of those showcasing junk foods. The fresh produce was moved to the front of the store, as well as the nuts and dried fruit. This way, customers will see bananas, apples, peanuts, and raisins rather than cookies or soda when they first walk into the store.

If there was a deli in the bodega or supermarket, we asked about putting up a deli combo poster. The combo usually consists of a sandwich on whole wheat bread, along with a piece of fruit and a bottle of water.

Once we finished repositioning products and hanging shelf talkers, we met at the store’s front door and took down any unhealthy advertising, replacing them with our own “Shop Healthy Bronx” posters. This let’s incoming customers know that they will find healthy options inside the store.

While our Shop Healthy makeovers weren’t extravagant, we were still able to get our message across: You CAN find healthy foods in most delis—and the EATWISE interns are making it easier.

Annie is an Ambassador for EATWISE (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating), a Food Bank for New York City nutrition education program.

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Stay Fit Tips from a New York Met

By Rashel, Monti and Geneva

The EATWISE interns had an amazing opportunity to meet the New York Mets’ Curtis Granderson and attend a Mets game. We also had the chance to ask Curtis a few questions about smart eating and staying fit. He shared some of the advice he typically gives to aspiring teenage athletes. For instance, in order to perform well it’s important to always have fun and stay hydrated.

Curtis also talked about his performance on the field and explained the benefits of eating healthy before a game. His advice: pack a nutritious lunch such as a peanut butter sandwich, fresh fruit, and/or mixed nuts; always have snacks on hand; and drink plenty of water.

To make sure you are drinking enough water, Curtis offered a great tip. Divide your weight in half—that is the minimum number of ounces of water you should drink daily. We really enjoyed our time with Curtis. He was insightful, inspiring and made it a great experience. Go Mets!


Rashel, Monti and Geneva are Ambassadors for EATWISE (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating), a Food Bank for New York City nutrition education program.

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Teaching Kids the Facts About Sugar

By Annie


Last week, the EATWISE interns went to the Monterey Community Center to teach the youth there about sugar and its place in a healthy diet. My co-leader Melissa and I had the incredible opportunity to give the lesson, portions of which  appeared on the news!

For one of the activities, we handed out small cups and sugar packets. The cups were labeled with the names of different beverages and foods, as well as the number of teaspoons of sugar each item contained. We asked the participants to pour the correct amount of sugar into each cup and then had them line up in order, based on whose cup held the least amount of sugar.

We explained the difference between natural sugars, which are found naturally in fruit, milk and some vegetables, and added sugars, which are found in most processed foods. A big part of our lesson was the comparison of an orange to “100% orange juice” and an ”orange-flavored drink.” The children quickly understood as we discussed why an orange was far healthier than orange-flavored drink.

When asked why sugar from the orange was better than sugar from a soft drink, we explained how natural sugar is paired with essential vitamins and fiber, while added sugar is often found in food and beverages that have little to no nutritional value.

Afterward, we played a game called “Go, Slow, Woah.” ”Go” foods can be eaten in any amount, because they are whole foods. ”Slow” foods are minimally processed and should not be eaten as often as whole foods. ”Woah” foods are highly processed and should be eaten as little as possible. The participants were mostly correct when they categorized each food or drink, stumbling on only a few that were reasonably tricky.  After the lesson, we helped provide a meal to the youth at the community center, handing out packed lunches prepared by Chef Max Hardy. When we  had to say goodbye, everyone was excited to take pictures and sad to see us go. It felt great to inspire our peers to eat healthy foods and look out for natural sugar.


Annie is an Ambassadors for EATWISE (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating), a Food Bank for New York City nutrition education program.

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EATWISE Interns Lend a Hand in Harlem

communitykitchengroup1By Annie and Ayadilis – This summer, the EATWISE interns are getting the chance to help clients at Food Bank’s Community Kitchen and Food Pantry in Harlem. Seeing how the food pantry works firsthand has been an eye-opening experience.

When we first entered the pantry, the lead volunteer, Lisa Foss, explained how the system worked. The pantry is set up like a supermarket, allowing people to choose food from each aisle. There are grains, dairy, meat and other proteins, juice, fresh fruit and vegetables. Each of us was assigned to a different section of the pantry to help clients with their food selections.

As we interacted with the clients, they thanked us. One especially lovely woman gave each of the EATWISE interns a hug too. Volunteering at Food Bank’s Community Kitchen and Food Pantry and spending time with the clients helped us better understand the sacrifices many people have to make in order to feed themselves and their families. It also made us grateful and happy that we were able to help New Yorkers in need.

Annie and Ayadilis are Ambassadors for EATWISE (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating), a Food Bank For New York City nutrition education program.

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NFL Star Chris Canty Helps Food Bank Kick Off Change One Thing

By Niree, Tatyana and Felicity

This week, EATWISE (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating), a Food Bank For New York City nutrition education program that inspires teens to make healthy food choices, partnered with the Chris Canty Foundation to kick off Food Bank’s Change One Thing campaign with a fun event at the Chris Canty Camp of Champions.

Food Bank For New York City Kicks Off EATWISE And Change One Thing Summer Nutrition Awareness Programs For Teens At Chris Canty Camp Of Champions

Chris and other NFL players led children through football drills to help them learn about physical fitness and the EATWISE team spoke to them about staying hydrated. Did you know that your body is 60% water? Drinking plenty of water when playing a sport or being active on a daily basis is important because it prevents you from becoming dehydrated.


NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 29:  Food Bank For New York City kicks off EATWISE, it's summer nutrition awareness program for teens with NFL superstar and Food Bank ambassador Chris Canty at his Camp Of Champions attended by EATWISE teen ambassadors at George Washington High School Field on June 29, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Food Bank Of New York City)

To help keep the kids hydrated during the event, the EATWISE team handed out water bottles. With the help of Chef Max Hardy, we also provided a very nutritious meal for all the camp participants.

It was exciting to see how many young children are interested in sports, especially football. Everyone had a great time. All the EATWISE ambassadors are super excited to work with EATWISE this summer and help kids #ChangeOneThing to be healthier—like staying hydrated!


NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 29:  Food Bank For New York City kicks off EATWISE, it's summer nutrition awareness program for teens with NFL superstar and Food Bank ambassador Chris Canty at his Camp Of Champions attended by EATWISE teen ambassadors at George Washington High School Field on June 29, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Food Bank Of New York City)

Niree, Tatyana and Felicity are Ambassadors for EATWISE (Educated and Aware Teens Who Inspire Smart Eating), a Food Bank for New York City nutrition education program.


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Good Morning Burrito

Typical breakfast options can get a little boring. Shake things up and add a little flavor to your morning grub with the Good Morning Burrito! Make things even more interesting by remixing our recipe with healthy choices of your own!


  • black beans 1 15-ounce can
  • olive oil 1 Tablespoon
  • whole wheat tortillas 1 package (large)
  • red onion 1 small
  • tomato 1 large
  • chives 2 tablespoons
  • plain, low-fat yogurt 1 6-ounce container


1) Cut onion, tomatoes and chives into small pieces. 2) Mix together beans and olive oil. Mash thoroughly with whisk. 3) Add onion, tomatoes and chives to bean mixture. Mix thoroughly. 4) Spread bean mixture on tortillas. 5) Fold tortilla over onto bean mixture cut into slices. Top
with yogurt and chives. 6) Serve with a glass of water. Enjoy!

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Foodie Friday: Cucumber Pop Quiz

#‎FoodieFriday Pop Quiz! How many of these cucumber facts did you already know? #NationalNutritionMonth

  1. Cucumbers belong to the plant family cucurbitaceae, which includes melons, squash, and pumpkins.
  2. Cucumbers come in many sizes, shapes, textures, and colors, including white, yellow, and even orange.
  3. Two common kinds of cucumbers grown in the U.S. include slicing and pickling. Slicing cucumbers are usually large with a thick skin, while pickling cucumbers are smaller with a thin skin.
  4. Pickles are cucumbers that have been soaked in a brining solution made of salt, vinegar, and water.
  5. A half-cup of sliced cucumbers has 8 calories and more than 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
  6. A cucumber is more than 95% water.
  7. Cucumber slices over the eyes may help reduce puffiness, thanks to the fruit’s water content and caffeic acid.
  8. The biggest cucumber, grown in southern China, was more than 5ft long and weighed 154 pounds.
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National Strawberry Day

By EATWISE Ambassador Melissa

#‎FoodieFriday Pop Quiz! Did you know today is  #‎NationalStrawberryDay‬? How many of these strawberry facts did you already know?

  • Strawberries are the only fruit that have seeds on the outside.
  • Because their seeds are on the outside instead of the inside, strawberries aren’t true berries! Technically, each seed on a strawberry is own fruit.
  • One strawberry has 200 seeds, on average.
  • Unlike other fruit, strawberries don’t continue to ripen after they are picked.
  • One cup of strawberries has only 55 calories. Strawberries are low in calories but high in vitamins C, B6, K, fiber, folic acid and, potassium.
  • Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
  • Each year, the average American eats 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries, and an additional 1.8 pounds frozen.
  • Strawberries are believed reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers.
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