Monday, June 4, 2012

ProStart student weighs in on healthy eating

The focus on healthy eating for Americans and particularly young people is at an all-time. The Louisiana ProStart program curriculum includes nutrition as part of a participating student’s coursework. We asked a few of them to tell us what they thought about healthy eating—at home, school and in restaurants.

Braiden Grzych is a ProStart student at Fontainebleu
High School in Mandeville, La. She shares her thoughts
with A La Carte magazine in the Spring issue.
Meet Braiden Grzych. She’s a ProStart student at Fontainebleu High School. Braiden shares with us her philosophy on why being selective about what she eats has helped her become more energetic.

ALC: Would you mind sharing with us why you are interested in healthy food choices?

BG: About three months ago I noticed I was exhausted fairly often, and not in the best shape, so I decided to get healthy. Even though it was hard, I knew that eating healthy would make me feel more lively and all around have a better lifestyle.

ALC: How has your ProStart experience helped you gain a greater awareness of healthy menu choices?

BG: ProStart has made me question anything I order. I make sure the food will benefit my body rather than harm it because of the amount of calories, fat, sugar or cholesterol. I definitely pay much more attention to fulfilling my body's daily needs such as fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.

ALC: How important do you think it is for restaurants to offer healthy menu items?

BG: I think it's extremely important. As a teen, I am completely aware of the media and the advertisements always saying to get fit, go play and eat right. Yet, restaurants rarely seem to give a vast choice of healthy options, so it's hard to make the right decisions while dining out. Also, with the public growing more and more aware of how healthy eating benefits the body, a restaurant offering healthy menu items would definitely get plenty of business!

ALC: Do you feel if the server offers healthy side items in place of or in addition to other less healthy items, you are more likely to order the healthy item?

BG: Yes! If the server offers something healthy I do a bit of a compare/contrast of the benefits in my head and I choose the healthier option. Plus, it makes me happy to know I'm making a wise decision so the dining experience is more enjoyable!

ALC: What are some healthy items you like to prepare?

BG: I love to make fruit salad, veggie wheat pizza, grilled asparagus, and a veggie pasta, with wheat noodles.

ALC: Are you conscientious of the healthfulness of foods you order in a restaurant?

BG: Yes I am. I always pull out my phone and Google the ingredients and how they affect the body, unless I already have knowledge of the ingredients from information I've learned in ProStart.

ALC: Have you had the opportunity to influences the choices of your peers?

BG: Yes! I've actually gotten two of my friends to cut out the sweets and fast foods by giving them a few healthy and delicious recipes. Once they realized healthy food actually does taste good and make their bodies feel better they were convinced!

This Q & A was first published in the Louisiana Restaurant Association's A La Carte magazine, Spring 2012, in tandem with a the article by Chef John Besh titled "If chefs raised our children."

ProStart is adminstered by the LRA Education Foundation in Louisiana and currently nearly 50 high schools offer the two-year program, which is designed to attract young people to careers in the restaurant industry.

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