Teens for Food Justice are advocating for healthier options in their neighborhoods.
In a survey of 11 restaurants in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and Norwood, Bronx, students from The Urban Assembly Unison School in Brooklyn and DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx found that, although options in each community varied, there was a lack of restaurants that had both affordable and nutritious food options. While many local restaurant owners are catering to residents’ tastes, cultures, and health needs, there is still a long way to go.
That’s why Teens for Food Justice and the American Heart Association have teamed up to make children’s restaurant menus healthier. Earlier this month, the teens developed surveys that enabled them to get a full picture of the restaurant landscape in their communities and, with the information they collected, they created maps that detailed the options. TFFJ students then visited restaurants and inquired about the types of food and drink items that were on children’s menus: availability of vegetables and portion sizes in staple menu items, food procurement and waste, and the cultural sensitivity of their menus. These teens came together for a Leadership Conference – along with students from Brownsville Collaborative Middle School in Brownsville, Brooklyn – and presented their survey results.
Throughout this semester, the American Heart Association and Teens for Food Justice are empowering young people to assess the availability of healthy options on restaurant menus in their neighborhoods; educate their peers, communities, and policymakers about the need for healthier options; and mobilize for change.
“It is critical that children have the ability to consume high-quality healthy food at every meal, and that we shift food marketing towards children away from highly processed, nutritionally empty food. Through this approach, we have the ability to change the way children think about their food choices, what they consume, and the devastating food-related health outcomes we are seeing nationally and globally,” said Katherine Soll, founder and Director of Teens for Food Justice. “That’s why we’re calling on the New York City Council to introduce and pass legislation that will ensure healthy drinks are the default option on children’s menus in every restaurant in New York City.”
To join the campaign for healthier kids’ menus, click here!