Several Florida Blue Grantees have been working with their students on healthy alternatives to household favorites. Students create recipe books and have started gardens with these new alternatives. Many students indicated in surveys at the end of the course that they were interested in more substitution suggestions. Substitutions and tasty alternatives to foods you already enjoy are a good way to transition into a healthy lifestyle. Switching to a limiting diet might help lose weight in the short run, but ultimately fails because its not a lifestyle switch. I also know several people who would get depressed eating bland food and binge on junk food once given the chance, neither of which are healthy or sustainable.
Eat This, Not That is a book created by Men’s Health that helps you choose between two similar items by evaluating nutrition facts. The key word is similar. It’s not asking you to choose between a fresh made black bean burger and a Big Mac, but between the Big Mac and Angus Deluxe at McDonalds. This might be a good book or website to go through with your students as you introduce the importance of nutrition labels. They also have a game if you want to make it fun 🙂
After you review a few of the food options, create your own Eat This, Not That. Ask your students where they like to eat or what types of foods they like to buy from the grocery store. Then go to the website for these brands and print out a few nutrition labels. Review the labels with your students by looking at calories, grams of fat, grams of saturated fat, carbs, protein, and sodium. Decide as a class which is the better option and why. You can then have them take the game home and report back which foods they substituted for others and their opinions on taste or even healthier options.