Summer Teen Nutrition Class

by Yuki Wiland, Brandeis University ’15

This summer, Healthy Waltham teamed up with the Chill Zone, a hangout place for middle school kids at the Waltham Recreation Department, to continue our series of cooking and nutrition classes. Each class focused on a specific topic, such as MyPlate, and a recipe that models the day’s concept.

In the final class, Healthy Waltham’s Head Chef Reva and I worked with a group of boys to make mango salsa and no-bake granola bars. We wanted to make something naturally sweet without using heat. Summer is simply too hot to turn on the stove, and many snack foods are loaded with hidden (or not-so-hidden) sugar.

There were some groans when Reva announced that we would be making salsa and granola bars, but the kids seemed to have fun learning how to cut vegetables and adjusting the granola to their tastes. They were even pleasantly surprised how good the snacks were with only fresh vegetables and fruits. Not everyone liked what we made; however, they did try it, and that’s something.

It’s always an interesting experience to work with teens, and hopefully they will come in with more positive attitudes next time. Maybe we should bring in crazy looking new or exotic fruits and vegetables for them to try either out of curiosity or bravery. Ha ha! What if they just haven’t tasted their favorites yet?!

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Fruits of our labors – a yummy, healthy snack made with teens this summer at the Chill Zone Teen Program.

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