Inspiring And Motivating Teens To Become Food SavvyFri 13 Jul 2012
Story by Claire Gourley
If you are a teen the last thing you need is another adult telling you what to do and how to do it… that happens enough at college and at home. There are a lot of kids out there who want to know more about food who want to hear about it from someone like them.
Claire Gourley, 18-year-old New Zealand teen, is sharing her food journey with other kids. Claire is not motivated by a desire to cook or a thirst for nutrition knowledge. No. She just likes great tasting food and wants to look and feel good. She has worked out that she needs to know enough about food to be 100% responsible for her own health.
Inspiring And Motivating Other Kids
Claire has developed swag of resources to inspire and motivate other kids. She has a website 'It’s My Turn To Cook Tonight', some cookbooks, done lots of media work and has recently added a school holiday cooking program to help her share her ideas with other kids.
When she started this project she could cook about four or five meals. She is a typical teenager because she’s not a ‘foodie’ and she doesn’t want to be a chef. She loves food but like most kids her age she is always busy with friends, school and sport and can’t really be bothered spending too much time or effort on cooking. When it comes to food – she’s interested … but really only in eating it!
However she doesn’t want to settle for average food – she likes great tasting food that is good for her. Her byline is ‘I don’t do complicated’ she has always thought that if she can do it, other kids can too. Simple and quick is good!
Like most kids, Claire doesn’t like her parents hovering around like a helicopter when she is learning something so whatever she does has to include the answers to questions that most kids are thinking – before they have to ask – like ‘How much water to put in the pot?’, ‘Does it matter if it is hot or cold?’, ‘Which vegetables take longer to cook in a stir fry?’, ‘What do they mean by stock?’ So Claire builds these answers into both her recipes and her YouTube’s. She thinks you are best to assume nothing!
When it comes to nutrition Claire has been inspired by the message that you don’t need to know how a light bulb works to get the benefit of it - so similarly she doesn’t have to understand all the science about nutrition and food either to reap the benefits. By keeping to simple things like eating a wide range of foods, knowing most portion sizes are about as big as your fist, that fruit and vegetables are really good for you and that high fat, high sugar foods are treat only, she has been able to adopt excellent nutrition practices without getting hung up on the details.
It has been her goal to keep her tips positive and get kids to understand that if you do pig out on some high fat, high sugar food - which they no doubt will - then you need to swing things the other way the next day or pop on your running shoes and move!
About the author: Claire Gourley is an 18-year-old New Zealander who loves to eat and talk. She has worked with her mother, food educator Glenda Gourley, to combine both these passions to create a program to inspire other kids to become food savvy. You can find our more about Claire at itsmyturntocooktonight.com
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