Healthy Eating Scenarios
Youths will respond to scenarios relating to the themes of body image and healthy eating choices.
The educator will observe youths' demonstrated knowledge and understanding related to influences on healthy eating choices and body image.
Markers, Poster paper, Scenarios
Have youths work in small groups to generate a list of factors that can influence their eating and drinking habits.
Have these small groups share responses, and then record youths' responses on the board. Provide feedback during the discussion.
Challenge youths to think of how each factor could influence other important decisions that they may have to make in their life. Invite the smaller groups to again share their ideas with the larger group.
Highlight to youths that some influences may be positive and will help them to make healthy decisions. Other influences might lead to unhealthy behaviours. Have the large group identify potential unhealthy behaviours and their influences.
Youths work in small groups to respond to one of the following scenarios:
Case 1 – Scott is a Grade 12 student who appears confident, and is often loud and boisterous. Scott enjoys online gaming and spends most of his time in front of the computer. His mom works evenings, so he and his brother make their own suppers. Snack foods, such as chips, chocolate bars, and desserts, are part of his daily food intake. He eats a lot of fast foods and quickly prepared dinners. With graduation and the formal only three months away, Scott is concerned about his lifestyle, as he will be living on his own in the fall.
- Is three months a realistic time frame for Scott to make changes before graduation day? Why or why not?
- What are some suggestions you could give to Scott about his eating habits?
- How could you encourage him to make healthier choices?
Case 2 – Charmaine is a 15-year-old Grade 9 student. During lunch, Charmaine is looking through her social media account for the latest fashion trends. All the women in the fashion site photos look beautiful—their hair is perfect, their skin is smooth, and their bodies are tall and lean. Comparing herself to these women, Charmaine decides that her thighs and stomach are too big, so she vows to slim down by decreasing her food intake and keeping a vigorous routine of jogging, cycling, and crunches.
She begins by cutting breakfast down to a glass of juice. For lunch she treats herself to a chocolate cookie, and at dinner she eats a small portion of the food her mother prepares. After one week of these changes, Charmaine lacks energy and she’s constantly in a bad mood. She finds that it’s a real effort to do any kind of physical activity and she always feels cold.
- How is her belief that she needs to control her shape affecting her eating/nutritional habits and physical activity patterns?
- How are her eating habits affecting her physical activity and energy levels?
- What healthy eating and lifestyle choices can you suggest for Charmaine?
Case 3 –Shafiq has always been a little self-conscious about his smaller size. In Physical Education class, he has developed his own weight-training program and has maintained it for three months. Every day except Friday, he works out for an hour using the weights. Shafiq is pleased to see the increase in muscle definition in both his arms and abdominal muscles and hopes that soon he’ll gain some weight too. Some of his friends recommended Creatine, a vitamin supplement, and protein powder to help build more muscle, so he takes them faithfully every morning, with his breakfast. To build up even further, Shafiq is into the habit of buying a donut on the way to school, snacking on cookies and chips after lunch, and then buying a hamburger on the way home. After supper, Shafiq lifts his weights. He is usually so hungry after his workout that he makes himself a big cold-meat and cheese sandwich. His mom is constantly amazed at the quantity of food he eats.
- What improvements would you recommend in Shafiq’s nutrition intake?
- How is his belief that he needs to control his size and shape affecting his eating/nutritional habits and physical activity patterns?
Case 4 Sandra is a Grade 10 student. She has never enjoyed the taste and texture of pork, beef, and poultry. After watching a video on Facebook, she decides that she will become a vegetarian. Sandra does not like trying new foods and eats foods from a very small number of choices. For breakfast, she often has toast or cereal or a frozen waffle. After Physical Education class, she usually grabs lunch with her friend; she often chooses French fries, or vegetarian pizza. For supper she will often have a bit of salad and rice or potatoes with her family. Sandra has never tried beans, tofu, or many grains.
- Is it possible for Sandra to follow a healthy eating plan as a vegetarian?
- What vegetarian choices would improve Sandra’s eating pattern?
- What are some suggestions you could give to Sandra about her activity pattern?
Case 5 – Your good friend Randy is probably one of the loudest, most outgoing kids in band. He’s always cracking jokes and making everyone laugh. You heard a rumour that his parents have split and notice he has been very down lately. It’s so bad that other band mates have also come to you about changes in his behaviour. He never socializes with the group, at lunch he just pushes his food around and doesn’t eat, and he has been showing up late to band practice, if he shows up at all. You talk to his sister and she says he just needs to cheer up! You have become concerned.
- What do you do?
- What actions could you take to support Randy?
- What sources of support are available in your school/community?
Small groups will share their scenario and responses with another group, providing feedback on the selected response of the group as well as other potential responses as they see fit.
Youths write a blog post or zine article on the theme of healthy eating and drinking and positive body image (e.g., 5 tips for loving the person in the mirror).
Consider displaying youths' responses around your room/building, or on a website for your school/program if available.