Michael Tierney, Logan County

One of the toughest challenges in our healthy cooking promotion is working with our families to track their sugar and sodium consumption without seeming like the nutrition police. We have asked numerous partners, from Extension agents to our friends at Try This and Keys 4 Healthy Kids, to our mentors at Grow Appalachia and none of the extended family has had a simple tracking tool.

This year, Rowan Zoeller, a summer VISTA with a background in both forestry and culinary arts, has researched materials to promote healthy choices. She also hopes to be a full year VISTA helping promote Grow Appalachia values with all our partners starting in August.

First, she has found a very simple handout that helps people learn how to examine food labels.:



But our favorite handout turns into a neat little booklet that helps people track fiber (starting out with something that is good for you), sodium and sugar.



When working with children and teens on healthy food promotion Kidz bite back (http://www.kidzbiteback.com/) is a great site. Developed by West Virginia raised Dewey Caruthers in consultation with Dr. Jamie Jeffries (a pillar of the Try This movement) it provides examples of kid led presentations on “Big Fat Industries” (colas, snack foods) and Couch Potato Companies (that encourage people to be idle…so they can snack more.)

It is filled with observations such as  Pop tarts only being 2% fruit and their serving size being for one item yet they are packaged in twos. I’ve seen presentations by Kidz chapters at the West Virginia legislature and at a training where they taped together the number of sugar packets it would take to produce the content of a typical can of soda. (about 18 inches worth).

These materials are great ways for kids and families to take their healthy futures in their own hands. If you’d like PDFs of any of these materials, contact us at sbsadmin@stepbystepwv.org