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'What’s In My Food?'

On Sunday, May 10th, JUCCCErs returned to Sproutworks restaurant to host another activity day with the Daning Mothers' Club. We came prepared with a presentation and gamified activities to teach the kids about our theme: ‘What’s In My Food?’ We had lots of honest and often surprising information for the kids.

Our lovely Chinese host Miss Carrot (Noel He) started out by introducing ‘What’s In My Food?’, with Miss Broccoli (Meg Lane) translating into English. The kids would be food detectives to dig deeper into the real contents of their food, specifically sugary drinks and instant noodles. The first culprit for investigation? An ordinary bottle of Coke, which we poured into a saucepan and brought to a boil. The kids were curious, but the result would only be revealed later…

The first activity of the day was about a tasty, convenient, and surprisingly unhealthy food: sugary drinks. Time for a guessing game! We brought out several examples of popular sugary drinks and handed them out to each table of kids. Each group had a few minutes to guess how many cubes of sugar their drink contained. Then, Miss Carrot went to each table to check the guesses to the real amount. The kids were good guessers, but some drinks just had shocking amounts of sugar. Parents and kids both gasped when Miss Carrot announced that the Kang Shi Fu iced tea had 14.5 whole cubes of sugar in it!

Of course, not all sugars are created equal. After the activity we had some more information for the kids about good and bad sugars, and why having too much artificial, added sugar makes you feel bad. We introduced a short, digestible video with some animated polar bears living out the effects of drinking too much sugary soda. The rest of the presentation included some gross examples (photos of a tooth decayed after soaking in soda) and some English vocabulary practice (repeating the names of different types of sugar, like corn syrup). We rounded off the sugary drinks activity by bringing out the boiled Coke, which had become an icky, sticky, sugary mess. The brown goop left over didn’t look too appetizing anymore!

We had some good news for the kids too: natural fruit juices are just as yummy as these artificial sugary drinks, and much healthier. Thanks to Sproutworks we had lots of different flavors of fruit and vegetable juices prepared for the kids to sample. They mixed their own tasty combinations from apple, carrot, tomato, orange, spinach and more.

Now time to move on to part two of the day’s activities, about instant noodles - another commonly eaten food with surprisingly unhealthy ingredients. The aim of the day was to help the kids unpack the contents. We combined information in a presentation with an interactive example. We compared fresh noodles, with a total of 4 ingredients, to instant noodles, which have over 20 different ingredients! We had the kids attempt to decipher the long ingredient list on instant noodle packages (perhaps the most challenging activity of the day…). We also discussed some of the nasty chemical ingredients of instant noodles (among them MSG and preservatives) and showed a video of the stomach trying to digest instant noodles (ew!).

We had a hands on activity to simulate the digestion, too. We poured hot water onto the instant noodles and a bowl of fresh noodles at each table, and had the kids attempt to mush both of them up. While the fresh noodles softened into a mushy glop, the instant noodles kept their shape. Eating that can’t be good for your body, right? So, why not make the healthy alternative, fresh noodles?

Sproutworks’ head chef Leo led a demonstration of making fresh noodle dough. The kids loved getting their hands in all the ingredients and kneading the dough. They even had the option to add some fun color with spinach extract.

To wrap up the morning the kids worked on a colorful mural of fruits and vegetables on Sproutworks’ window. The mural will stay up all month in the restaurant to demonstrate the kids’ hard work and promote healthy eating. And of course, we couldn’t forget the colorful stickers! Each kid chose a Food Hero badge to place on their very own I’m A Food Hero certificate. All of these activities really helped work up an appetite. Thank goodness for Sproutworks’ delicious lunch that the parents and kids could sit down and enjoy together.

Many thanks to Kimberly Wong and her Sproutworks team for all their help in hosting and coordinating our ‘What’s In My Food?’ day. JUCCCE is excited about continuing to work with Sproutworks to plan more successful activity days!

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