At the Throckley Learning Hub, one of our Learning Hub Coordinators: Eve, organised a Healthy Eating Campaign. The campaign was aimed at the children who attend the Learning Hub to engage them to start thinking more about the things that they eat and how food affects them. We wanted to show how some of our favorite snacks may not be very good for our bodies due to the high levels of sugar they contain.
The first activity that the children took part in was taste testing different snacks including sugar free jelly, vegetable sticks and hummus, rice crackers with low fat cream cheese etc. They weren’t told much about them, just that everyone could try them and to write down their thoughts on each snack. They were encouraged to describe and to rate each from their favorite to least favorite. At first the children were a little hesitant. However, after some encouragement many were pleasantly surprised. Here is some of their feedback.
One of the children said: “I’m going to ask my mum to buy them when we get home”, and another: “I’m surprised that I liked it”.
Next, as a group we they discussed their thoughts on the foods. We looked at some of the foods that tasted good and were also healthy. For example, how the guacamole contained avocados which are full of good fats.
The group was split into two for the next activity where they would break down what’s in the foods that they eat. One group were taught how to understand the nutritional values on the packaging of different foods, and what this meant. Many were surprised by how much sugar is hidden in savory foods as they do not taste sweet. They were able to compare healthy to unhealthy foods and what nutritional differences they have.
Although unhealthy snacks seem convenient as they can grab them after school, we discovered that many of the packaged healthy snacks can also be convenient especially the 100 calorie snacks introduced by the government.
The other group did a sugar weigh in where they measured out how much sugar is in the snacks they usually have by using teaspoons and scales.
Did you know that a can of Coca Cola has 39g of Sugar?! This was really interesting and even some of the volunteers were shocked by what this amount of sugar looks like.
During the event, we learnt that high levels of sugar can have negative effects on our teeth and can cause then to rot. This was demonstrated through a tooth decay experiment illustrated by hard boiled eggs that had been left over night in water or cola. The difference was quite shocking as the sugar effected egg had become soft and had changed to a brown colour where as the other seemed normal. The hard egg shell is similar to teeth and shows what can happen to them if we have too many sugary foods and drinks.
We also learnt that when we have too much sugar, it can affect our learning as we may have lots of energy straight after consuming the sugar, however, this can drop really low after a short while leaving us with a very low amount of energy which makes it difficult for us to concentrate and learn:
What is a Sugar Crash? – When we have so much sugar, that instead of having high levels of energy, we experience headaches , anxiety, tiredness, being irritable; this is because our bodies can’t cope with this amount of sugar.
Many of the children said that they now feel confident to work out how much sugar in in the foods that they eat. Also, when we spoke to parents they seemed pleased we were hosting something like this and that we were making it as fun as possible.
We hope that everyone who took part in the Healthy Eating Campaign learnt something new and enjoyed the session.