courtesy, MÉTA

goal: raising awareness about the importance of healthy eating; understanding the difference between slow and fast food and the alternatives to junk food available on the marketplace (healthy fast foods); developing a critical thinking on our eating patterns; fostering the idea that eating ‘slow food’ is exciting and ‘cool’.

risk: talking about fast food, you should avoid making students feel guilty (don’t forget that it is a widespread way of eating among youngsters).

YXC level: individual (1st level).

YXC materials: respecting our bodies | Healthy Fast Foods | Delhi Students | Eu Food Labelling | Us Food Advertising | Soft-Drinks’ Truth | Eating Disorders | Certified Farmers | Italian Bio Store | clean up your fun | Cooking Classes | pay the right price | Oxfam Campaign | facts & figures/GENERAL DATA | Organic Food | Fair Trade | Soft Drinks | facts & figures/ENVIRONMENT | How Much Is Thrown Away? | Drinks Containers (1) | Drinks Containers (2) | facts & figures/BASIC NEEDS | Globesity | Harmful Eating | Pesticides | Meat Production | Food Miles | Hunger | dep’t store | Organic Ice Cream | Indian Lunch Box | Soul Food | Cafédirect | Good Stuff Guide | Buy-Different Guide | job opportunities | Petrini-Slow Food | Anti Pesticides Network | trainer’s room/CLASSWORKS | Reading Food Labels | links | Food & Drinks |

subject areas: Health & Well-being | Cultural studies | Science & technology | Economics & biz | Workshops

work planning: Phase 1, testing students’ knowledge of the issue; Phase 2, intro to the issue; Phase 3, creation of 2 teams; Phase 4, individual homework; Phase 5, reporting.

testing student knowledge (with key questions) :


bullet Do you choose what to eat? How? bullet When purchasing food, how much attention do you pay to its health value? bullet Are you used to carefully read food labels? bullet How often do you eat at home? bullet Where/how at home do you consume your meals? a) sharing meals with relatives/friends; b) alone, anywhere; c) watching TV, behind my PC bullet How often do you eat out? (restaurant, school canteen, or just walking outdoor, using public transport, at cinema, etc.)? bullet Do your meals follow a regular pattern? (breakfast, lunch, dinner) bullet On average, how long do you take for eating a complete meal? bullet In addition or instead of regular meals, are you used to nibble all along the day? (snacks, soft drinks, something else)?


bullet Are food commercials daily saturating us? bullet Do you think they’re - on average - informative or misleading? bullet Make an example of a typical fast food commercial claim. bullet Make an example of a typical slow food claim. bullet When you buy a new product (food or drink), which of the following media influence you the most: a) TV/cinema, b) radio, c) specialised press, d) newspapers, e) Internet, f) mobile phones, g) outdoor ads, h) word-of-mouth, i) an appealing packaging, j) something else? bullet And which of the following elements, for instance in a TV commercial, determine your purchasing choices: a) the testimonial is your favourite star; b) the jingle is super-cool; c) the headline is unforgettable; d) the plot is so funny…


bullet Do you believe in the importance of daily rituals (such as preparing and sharing meals)? bullet Is cooking a way to express yourself? bullet Is it a way to learn about other cultures? bullet What’s the difference between fast and slow food? bullet Is slow food healthy but tasteless, unappealing? bullet Is slow food in contrast with modern life? bullet What are the reasons why people choose fast food? a) because it's cheap; b) heavily marketed; c) it’s easy-to-get; d) they just follow what everybody does. bullet What do you know about the Slow Food Movement?

These questions should be discussed in the form of class brainstorming before introducing the topic.

intro to the topic (background) : if you care about your health and you want to preserve traditions, let’s try slow food! Eating slowly (and often less) is key to longevity. It doesn’t mean to give up the pleasure of eating good things. It just means to eat responsibly.

Meals devoured on the street or at our desks are replacing home cooked fare. They’re cheap, quick, easy. But their benefits can be deceptive.

Sodas and burgers, together with other highly processed items, are high in fat, sugar and salt. They are fuelling a global obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. If we take a look at the statistics of “Globesity” (see “Facts and Figures”), we discover that 300 million people in the world are obese. It’s the 4.8 % of total population!

But there’s a paradox going on: hunger and obesity coexist. They may be provoked by the same lack of money. This apparent contradiction is driven by the economics of buying food. People without money to buy enough quality food often have to rely on cheaper, fat foods to survive. This is not, of course, a healthy diet. There’s also another paradox: the unequal wealth distribution provoke both food’s surplus and lack of it.

Finding alternatives: Slow Food movement. This eco-gastronomic movement celebrates diversity, tradition, and character and what it’s founder, Carlo Petrini, calls ‘quiet material pleasure’. It promotes, educates and propagates a new, healthier way of eating, defending our world’s heritage of agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions.

Public authorities, in several countries, have enforced strict foodstuffs labelling regulations (e.g. the 2002 European Commission measures).

At the same time, consumers must become more concerned in what they eat, looking for healthy food and trying to have more information about the social and environmental impact of food production.

providing evidence: class could be divided into 2 groups. The first one could be asked to bring traditional handmade products; the second one fast food meals. Then they should compare flavours, price, quality, etc. and rate each food item according to a scale from 0 to 10.

methodological suggestions:

  • gathering information: to develop this activity students, working in two teams, could be asked to analyse and taste different products. The first group could explain where they buy and how they choose ingredients, and how they would cook the food.
  • comparing and detecting calories: students could be asked to detect, in order to calorie’s number (carefully reading food labels), the lowest and the highest in terms of calories within each food group of items (fast and traditional food). They will decide if the most appealing product is also the unhealthier.

results assessment: the success of this pedagogical module on understanding the importance of safe eating can be measured by the following results:
  • informative goals: 1) students know the difference between slow and fast food; they know if what they’re used to eat is healthy; they understand the importance of reading labels;
  • action goals: 1) Students will organize a slow food event . A sort of International Kitchen where they will prepare, discover and taste several new flavours and-why not!- make amazing combinations. They will discover how different cultures can use the same product in many different ways.