Food Challenge: Cultivating Food Competence among Adolescents

By Sara Dodd, Holly Follmer-Reece and Erin Kostina-Ritchey.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 16, 2015 $US5.00

This paper reports on a pilot food and nutrition project developed for youth in a low-income rural school in the US. The program was developed as enrichment and enhancement for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focus of a college preparatory school, incorporating an established extracurricular food skills program known as Food Challenge. Curriculum and program activities were developed utilizing material from the food guidance system established by the US Department of Agriculture (e.g. MyPlate dietary guidelines for Americans). Learning activities focused on nutrition knowledge, food safety, suggested portion sizes, and cooking skills. A total of 52 students ages 11–14 and enrolled in Grade 7 as of August 2013 participated in required morning sessions. Approximately half of the students (22) self-selected to participate in morning and an after-school program called Food Challenge, which emphasized hands-on training in food preparation (cooking skills) and presentation. Additional reinforcement of nutrition and food safety principles also was provided. Follow-up focus groups with after-school program participants suggest that the students who participated in Food Challenge felt greater confidence in their abilities to identify healthy eating options and to contribute to the preparation of meals at home.

Keywords: Food Competence, Adolescence, Healthful Eating, Meal Preparation, Cooking Skills, Nutrition Education

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 5, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.71-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 16, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 424.877KB)).

Dr. Sara Dodd

Director of the Center for Adolescent and Resiliency, 1)Center for Adolescent and Resiliency , 2)Texas AgriLife Extension,state specialist in 4-H and Youth Development, Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Holly Follmer-Reece

Research Associate, Center for Adolescent Resiliency, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Holly joined the Center for Adolescent Resiliency team in August 2011. She is responsible for designing and maintaining the research platform of United Future Leaders, Transforming through Transition, Food Challenge, and other special projects. Holly is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Tech University. She earned a Master of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech and a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Child/Family Studies and French from Baylor University.

Dr. Erin Kostina-Ritchey

Researcher, Center for Adolescent Resiliency, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA