In 2019, the Appetite team piloted their new high school nutrition program, Brainfeed at two independent schools in Sydney with Year 10 boys and girls. We were keen to learn from students about the relevance of the workshop content and if Brainfeed could empower them to make simple changes to the way they ate by understanding the power of the gut-brain connection and how this impacts on their mood and performance.
We learnt a lot along the way with our evaluation showing the power of the program on knowledge and behaviour change and insightful ideas from students to make Brainfeed more engaging and relevant to their needs.
Our three key learnings
1. Teenagers are great at sorting fact from fiction
Brainfeed includes a workshop which teaches students how to critically evaluate nutrition information they may encounter online and on social media. With our guidance and a useful checklist, we were excited by how well the students were able to decipher who to trust. At one school, almost three quarters (73%) of students said Brainfeed helped them assess whether a social influencer is giving good nutrition advice. One student said that a highlight of the program was “having popular influencers referenced”.
2. Keep dietary changes simple and personalised
Brainfeed highlights the power of simple dietary changes to improve how students think and feel – not overwhelming students with the pressure of making multiple changes and needing to achieve a ‘healthy balanced diet’.
Our evaluation showed students appreciated being empowered to make step-wise, achievable and practical changes. For example, 78% of students at one school made changes to their diet to include more Brainfeed foods following the program – some as simple as swapping butter for olive oil when cooking or adding Greek natural yoghurt to their smoothie. Making the content relevant and personalised was key to engagement with one student commenting that “personal links to our own diets helped us implement brain foods”.
3. Show me how – add real-life food demos
Our presenters ensure Brainfeed is engaging by involving students in lots of interactive group work they enjoy, with one student saying, “the group activities…were a fun way to understand the information”.
However, not surprisingly when talking about food, students wanted to get hands on! Feedback from the pilot programs overwhelmingly showed that students wanted to have more experiential content, learning how to put together meals and snacks. This year, we’ve introduced a brekkie demo, which has really inspired students, showing them just how simple it is to include Brainfeed foods in their day.
Our Brainfeed program is ready to go for 2020 and can be delivered in-person or online to meet your school’s requirements. Get in touch to find out more information.