Thursday, July 28, 2011

High School Food Interns Garden and Cook

This summer we have been so fortunate to have a small group of dedicated High School students work with us in the garden and cooking clubs. We've tackled all kinds of different projects from writing our own personal food stories to keeping a food journal and setting goals for making one healthy change to our eating habits. We've weeded and watered and harvested in the garden. We've made smoothies and salads and Kale Chips. Each student has a different reason for wanting to learn how to eat better--whether it is to loose or gain weight or simply learn how to take better care of themselves--we've discovered during group conversations that opinions and experiences which have shaped our relationships to food vary widely. Here are some links for you (whether you're a student or a grown-up) to start thinking about what's shaped your own relationship to food and also some resources for helping you set yourself up for making healthier choices. Let us know if you take advantage of them and what your experience is.

Evaluate Where You Are:
1. Calculate and Assess Your Body Mass Index (BMI) here.
2. Track Everything You Eat for 1 Week Using this Online Food Journal's (Free Trial Version).
2. Monitor How Much Exercise You Get Daily. Adults need about 30 minutes a day and kids need about 60 minutes a day.

Set Some Goals
1. Based on your weight, your food diary and your daily activity what changes do you need to make? Do you need to gain weight, loose weight or increase your physical activity? What does being healthy look like to you?
2. What are two small lifestyle changes you are willing to make to help you achieve a healthier you? Write them down. Enlist your friends by sharing your goals so they can support you. This guide to a healthier you is great!

Learn to Cook and Enjoy More Fresh Whole Foods
1. Most of us are comfortable cooking the foods we grew up with or have eaten throughout our lives. In the Standard American Diet this unfortunately often doesn't include many fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lean proteins. (Not familiar with what the Standard American Diet is? Check out this great interactive timeline about how it has evolved from the NYTimes.) There's still a place in your life for fried chicken, but you'll achieve a greater balance if you seek out and learn how to prepare for yourself some healthy and delicious options.
2. Become an Educated Eater.
Learn to read labels, ask questions at the grocery store and the farmers market, plan your meals and use your network to find out what other people enjoy eating. Avoid empty calories and instead eat a diet rich in various plant foods. Make meat more of an occasional treat or flavoring agent than the main event.

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