Trends identified at global level show that more and more young people prefer snacks instead of healthy, nourishing meals
Trends identified at global level show that more and more young people prefer snacks instead of healthy, nourishing meals, and that they are also concerned about food portion control. Girls or boys end up not eating chocolate at all, for example, as they believe chocolate alone will spoil their chance of having a dream silhouette. On the other hand, more and more young people are overweight, while others choose not to eat at all to avoid this challenge. Thus, the main target of the program “Taste carefully. Enjoy the moment” is to improve the way young people have their snacks, helping them build a healthier relationship with food.
Florentina Baloş, an ambassador of the program “Taste carefully. Enjoy the moment” told us: “Taste carefully. Enjoy the moment” is about eating carefully, intentionally and about how we can focus on the present, so that we can really feel the taste of the food and enjoy it, because snacks are part of everyday life. This is a project of the One Hundred Percent Romanian Association launched in partnership with ANPC (the National Authority for Consumer Protection) and with 5 high schools from Bucharest. Studies have shown that young people prefer snacks to nourishing foods and then the questions "What do we eat?", "Why do we eat?" and "How do we eat?" somehow go unanswered, because they eat chaotically. Many times, we don't know what we eat because not all of us know what the labels say, if we haven't done some research in advance. And the purpose of the project is to inform and educate. "
Once you are informed, you know how to make informed choices, our interlocutor added: “The project includes of several stages. We addressed the teenagers, in the first phase, with a workshop on nutrition, in which young people learned about eating, about the nutritional value of food, about how much we eat depending on age, and the effort we make. We continued with a workshop on the correct reading of food labels, which was given by Mrs. Veronica Mitran, vice president of the National Authority for Consumer Protection-ANPC. During the workshop students were informed about labels and understood what all those terms mean, terms on the label which we often don’t understand. We also organized a discussion with a psychologist, who told the students about food fads, in an attempt to find the answer to the question ‘Why do we eat’. Most of the time we eat emotionally, whether we are happy or sad, angry or nervous, we eat. Or we eat in front of the screens. We are no longer aware of what we are eating. That is why it's very important to gauge our emotions a bit. "
About 550 students were in the pilot phase, and 10 of them benefited from a mentoring session with an expert in planning and organization. Organizing and planning including meals, homework, so that they should also have time for small pleasures, such as going out with friends, watching a movie or relaxing. "I don't have time" seems to be the leitmotif of the young generation, which clearly proves how necessary planning is.
Florentina Baloş: "At the end of the workshop they sat for a test. For 21 days, together with the experts, they kept a diary in which they wrote down what they did, how they did it, how much they ate, when they did their homework. It was basically an exercise for the future. At the end of the workshops, the young people were invited to create their own work-boards. We stimulated their creativity. They wrote about either how they eat or how they changed their schedule, and 50 young people received awards. During the awards ceremonies, we interviewed some of them, because we wanted to see how they perceived the project and whether it helped them. And the answers were more than delightful. We talked to a young lady who told us that before the workshop she had the feeling that all food was fattening, that she was gaining weight from everything she ate, which made her feel a little frustrated. Indeed, she was a little overweight, but that was also due to stress. Even when she drank water, she had the feeling that she was gaining weight. She told us that now she understood what she was doing wrong with food combinations and the snacks, and that the project helped her understand and improve the way she eats.”
The program “Taste carefully. Enjoy the moment” took place between December 2020 and June 2021, and it was conceived strictly from an educational perspective, being an educational program about the habit of having snacks. Once school begins, we hope that more and more young people will be able to benefit from such programs. (LS)