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: On the count of three we're going to be food detectives. One two three…Food Detectives!
Narrator: It's a Tuesday morning at the Crabapple Kroger in Alpharetta, Georgia and Team Cougar and Team Possum are on the hunt.
Team Possum: Ok possums, let's go!
Narrator: A scavenger hunt, that is, for healthier food choices.
Team Possum: Find a food that's sweet and delicious, an important part of every meal and that contains a color from the rainbow I think it is fruit! It's apples. It's apples!
Team Cougar: What is a healthy breakfast cereal that is a good source of fiber and contains a serving of fruit?
Team Possum: Get a bright red one…
Team Cougar: Over there! Right in front of you!
Team Possum: Now what? Yogurt…
Julie Schwartz, RD, MPH : What we are looking for on the label is how many servings, how many calories, how much fat, how much fiber and sugar, and that's real important, and the ingredients.
So this is the same on any label that you look at on any food.
Narrator: Emory University nutritionist Julie Schwartz prepped the kids before the hunt with an in-depth explanation on how to read a food label.
Julie Schwartz, RD, MPH : How many of you like chips?
Narrator: It's an eye opening discussion she hopes will make a lasting impression.
Julie Schwartz, RD, MPH : Have you ever looked at a chip label? No? Jada can you tell me how many grams of fat is in a serving of those chips?
Jada: Ten grams.
Julie Schwartz, RD, MPH: Pretzels, one gram. How many calories are in the serving of potato chips?
Julie Schwartz, RD, MPH: 150, here there is 110. How many potato chips do you get for a serving?
Julie Schwartz, RD, MPH : 11? You get 16 pretzels. So what seems like a better snack?
Narrator: While the earlier lesson doesn't keep Team Possum from grabbing a free chip—
Team Possum: Ok let's go.
Narrator: Or even a brownie as they pass by…
Team Possum: See. Not good food, yet we are eating it. (giggle)
Narrator: At least they're self aware…
And as the hunt goes on both teams settle in to do the work.
Team Cougar: They're still searching. We only have two more, come on, let's go find the yogurt!
Team Possum: Sodium. Oh! My God. Okay total fat is 13 grams.
Narrator: The Possums are particularly shocked by one of their favorite lunch items.
Team Possum: Wow. But look how many calories this has? 420 calories plus 100 calories from the fat.
Narrator: Learning to read labels closely, experts say, is a great way to get a child to work with their parents to make healthier food choices, both now and throughout their lives.
It's a point that Julie stressed to her budding food detectives—but in language they could relate to.
Julie Schwartz, RD, MPH : It's important to look at labels and you can help your parents when you are choosing things because you ask and ask and ask and ask, and we parents have to say no, no, no, no, no.
But if you can say, but this is a healthy snack or this is a healthy lunch, your parents might say, yes, more often.
Team Possum: Where does Vitamin C come from? The frozen orange juice we saw back there! Oh! Yeah!
Narrator: It's a win-win message with life-long benefits.
Team Possum: Alright…Vitamin C. Does it have Vitamin C in it? Yes. 160. We win, we win!!
Narrator: For WebMD, I'm Sandee LaMotte.