Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nutrition- It's Not About Celery Sticks

Image result for image of celery sticks
Large groups of teenagers can be daunting- especially if your might be an unpopular activity in their summer schedule! In a moment of hushed bluntness, a young man's comment caught my attention, "Great, celery sticks and ranch". Ouch! 

His comment stirred an immediate reaction in me- of gratitude! I have been brooding and fretting over a few crazy me ideas (you know, the ones that only sound good in your own head)- in attempts to put together a fresh summer teen nutrition/ag program. One dealt with none other than nutrition myths, such as 'nutrition is all about celery'.

Without fear I walked right up to the boy, who was quite strong in his defense of his comment- and quite clear he would not be eating any celery, and thanked him for his honesty. Our small one-on-one conversation gave me an open door to assure him this would not be a boring activity, but an opportunity to change his outlook. He challenged me further with a smirk and an agreement to give it a shot. My long ride home found me in 'all tabs open' mode as the creative juices struggled to marry with sound fact and reasoning.

If nutrition is not about the celery sticks, what is it about? 

1. Food, not food shaming! Learning about food, both natural and processed, in order to equip you for your choices.

2. Choices. What goes in to your body is your choice- but be sure you are informed and educated in order to make good ones.

3. Be where you are. Children/youth generally do not make food purchasing decisions for their families, so there are limits to what they can choose. Family finances, ethnic preferences, and food knowledge can also play a role. Work with what you have and learn to make it work.

4. Trying new things- not just new foods. Sometimes nutrition is about trying new skills, or new ways to use certain foods.

And finally- 
5. Fit your tastes! Each of us are different- and our tastes are too. Learn to adjust foods to suit your tastes; you will be more willing to eat them and make them yourselves.

I have no doubt this summer will be full of challenging personalities and hard set preferences- most kids have rather firm views of food and nutrition. My hope is that this young man's honesty will truly open the flood gates to the many jumbled notions in my head and bring them to an engaging plan of action! 

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Thaks Michelle. Your thoughts come at an opportune time for me as I am leaving tomorrow to cook for a crowd of teenage girls for a week of camp. It is so hard to choose food that fits 60+ different preferences, with limited cooking equipment and with a small budget. Yes, I'm serving celery and ranch. And beans. We'll see how it goes. Your thoughts help quiet my fears a bit and gives me some conversation starters. Thanks.