Sometimes foods can hide far more fat than you might expect. Help your clients develop a good sense of how much fat a product contains (along with where to look for it) with these fun and engaging activity ideas.
Activity #1: Isolate the Fat
For this activity, you will need pencils and paper, a few food packages (we recommend pepperoni pizza, fried chicken, and a croissant sausage sandwich), and some sticks of butter or lard.
Gather your audience. Explain that the sticks of butter/lard represent the fat content in various foods.
Have participants check the Nutrition Facts labels on the boxes of food (or look up the nutrition information online) and write down how much total fat is in each item.
Then have each person or group measure out the proper amount of butter/lard to represent the fat content of the food (this can be done by grams of fat in each or by tablespoon, whichever is easiest for your group to grasp). Place each measured amount in a separate clear drinking glass.
Now that the fat in several dishes has been isolated and visually represented, talk about it. Did people expect those foods to have that much fat? Why or what not? What are some healthful ways to reduce the fat that people eat?
Activity #2: Freeze the Fat
For this activity, you will need access to a refrigerator and a variety of foods from a fast food restaurant. Burgers and fries work especially well.
If you have the time, introduce this activity at the beginning of your presentation, then refrigerate the foods and conclude the activity right before you end the presentation.
If you don’t have the time, or access to a refrigerator, you’ll simply need to put the food in the fridge several hours before you begin.
Refrigerate the fast food for at least 6 hours, then present it to your participants. Point out how much easier it is to see the hardened fat now that the food is cold.
Now it’s time for the discussion. How much fat is in each food item? Talk through the relationship of the chilled food to the advertising images everyone has seen, then review the health dangers that solid fats pose. How can these foods affect health? (It’s especially useful to focus on heart health).
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.