Change One Thing

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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Teaching Kids the Facts About Sugar

By Annie

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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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My Experience as a Teen Ambassador

by Nicole
I’ve had a great experience so far as an ambassador of Food Bank For New York City. It seems funny to call myself an ambassador, but essentially that’s what I am. So far, I’ve been involved in a variety of different projects. One of them, which I think is the most important, is teaching. My partner Bella and I go to different sites and teach teens like us about the six lessons involved in EATWISE. At one site, we covered the lesson of MyPlate (Lesson One), which is an overview of what’s to come from the program. We taught the kids the difference between processed and whole foods, how companies advertise unhealthy products to influence buyers, and more. The class seemed pretty responsive and engaged. I’ve also participated in ShopHealthy. In this program we do makeovers at bodegas to hopefully influence shoppers to eat healthier. I also work on the Change One Thing Truck, which educates the public—especially teens—about healthier alternatives they can make in their daily lives. Overall, I am learning a lot about healthy living, and enjoying myself at the same time. I don’t think I could have a better job.

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#ChangeOneThing Popcorn Trail Mix

 

By Cat and Abby

The #ChangeOneThing popcorn trail mix is a flavorful treat that combines healthy ingredients to form a delicious snack. Because of its protein packed nuts and organic dried fruits, this trail mix is a great source of nutrients that your body needs. Not only is this recipe easy to make, but it’s family friendly and you can make it in minutes. With the popcorn in the mix, this healthy recipe is also appealing to kids, helping them to eat healthy whole grains without realizing it. If you have allergies or don’t like something in this mix, you can easily substitute all ingredients.  This recipe is a delicious and nutritious easy snack for any time of day.

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Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 1 large bag pre-popped popcorn (4.4oz)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apricots

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle popcorn with cinnamon, tossing to coat evenly.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cranberries and apricots. Mix well.
  3. Toss the nut, seed and fruit mixture with the popcorn.
  4. Divide evenly among 4-6 snack sized bowls.
  5. Enjoy!
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