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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Healthy & Happy at Marie Reed, Part II: Nutritious fast food

As a part of the winter season with DC SCORES, intern Kristen Miano is spending some time with the Marie Reed Panthers as they learn about healthy eating and healthy living. Kristen is writing about her experience being in the classroom with the students as they grow in their understanding of how to live healthier and happier lives through better nutrition and active lifestyles. You can follow Kristen and her observations on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.


Written by Kristen Miano
Digital Media Intern

Fast food is often cheap, easy and, for the most part, very unhealthy. But does it always have to be? Last Tuesday, the Marie Reed Panthers met up to find out.

The students were presented with nutrition fact labels for the ingredients in a small hamburger from a standard fast food restaurant and were tasked with adding up all the fat and calories of each item to figure out the totals for the entire sandwich. This hamburger may be a normal lunch for some, but the 790 calories and 36 grams of fat were shocking for everyone.

“There aren’t even a lot of nutrients in the burger for all the calories and fat you’re getting,” said nutrition teacher Carolyn Brandt. “Except for maybe the tomato and the lettuce, there’s hardly any vitamins or minerals in the burger.”

When asked what else they could order at a restaurant that may be healthier, the students were quick to respond with answers like salads and sandwiches. One student suggested going to Subway over places like McDonalds or Burger King because the sub shop tends to have more healthy choices to pick from.

The students also recalled what they learned in class the previous week when asked what they could order to drink.

“Water!” was the loud, unanimous answer.

One common problem the students also discussed was the prevalence of fast food advertising over commercials for healthy options. In an effort to combat this, the Panthers closed out their lesson by drawing their own ideas for commercials to promote healthy food.

One group decided to make an advertisement that featured the famous soccer star, Lionel Messi, ordering a salad at a fast food joint.

“If people see Messi ordering healthy food,” said Emelisa U., age 10, “they will want to order it too.”

When asked what he learned, Titus R., age 8, nicely summed up the lesson when he said that fast food restaurants aren’t really good for you, but have some okay options.

“I learned that fast food restaurants aren’t healthy,” Titus said. “(But) you can order a salad. That would be healthy.”

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