Ess-Kult-tour: playful through the world of food

Ess-Kult-Tour: Playful through the world of food

Search for traces, assess environmental impacts, check ingredients, play roles, be a chef.

Interactive learning at stations motivates students to reflect their shopping and eating habits. The goal is to strengthen their consumer skills. On the course, the young people learn all about food – from labeling and additives to nutrition, advertising and sustainable consumption.

The following stations can be used:

Preparing food for yourself is by no means a matter of course for all young people. Partly, there is a certain amount of shyness when dealing with fresh ingredients. The attitude is strongly influenced by the family environment.

The young people make their own pesto from different ingredients, create their own name and present their creation in comparison with a purchased pesto. By tasting and tasting they should develop a feeling for the preparation and be motivated for the further experimentation with ingredients.

The eating habits of adolescents are shaped by the family. With age, however, friends and classmates have a decisive influence. Time and money, but also personal preferences play another important role. Mostly young people do not realize these decisions consciously.

For breakfast, the baked cheese rolls from the bakery, lunch at the menu from the snack, evening noodles with ready-made tomato sauce and in between a few snacks from the supermarket. Often young people do not even notice how much fast food they eat every day.

What type of food do I actually have? With the help of a questionnaire, the young people in this station once more reflect their own eating behavior.

Whether protein, fat or carbohydrates – everything we eat contains nutrients. But what do these nutrients do and why do they need them? Should one eat more of one than of the other? The need for nutrients varies from person to person, depending on age, gender and physical activity at work and at leisure. Many foods are provided with nutritional information by the manufacturer. But it is not easy to evaluate this information and put it in relation to your own daily requirements.

Photo: magele /

The station gives a playful look at what nutrients are, how many of them are in different foods and what is the daily requirement depending on age, gender and lifestyle. Because someone who works physically has a different need than someone who sits at the desk all day. With the help of role and event maps it is shown how the diet for the respective "Type" can be optimized.

Over 300 additives are approved in Europe – and there are more and more. Manufacturers mix them into foods, for example, to change their consistency or to make them last longer. Almost all industrially manufactured foods contain additives, and these must be included in the list of ingredients.

But consumers do not use this at first, because the additives hide behind complicated names or E-numbers. Those who can not decipher and also know nothing about the effect of the individual substances, can do little with the list of ingredients.

At this station, students analyze ingredient lists of selected foods and find out what terms and numbers conceal additives.

In addition, students are allowed to experiment with an additive to better understand how it works. For example, what happens when you try to mix vinegar and oil together? And what happens when the additive lecithin – also known as E322 – is used?

From the guide What did the E numbers mean? Find out what function each ingredient has and how the Consumer Center assesses the health benefits.

"From the region", "From here", "Our home town". The supermarket shelves contain many foods that advertise their regional origin. Because regional foods are popular.

Photo: VZ NRW

Consumers expect regional products to have short transport routes, are particularly fresh, and domestic production will secure jobs in the region. However, these expectations are not always met, because where it says on a regional level does not have to be regional for a long time.

At this station, the students playfully learn what regional food is and how they can recognize it.

The slot machine "Regio Winner" is the eye-catcher of the station. Here everyone can try their luck on the one-armed bandit and maybe win the jackpot.

At the board game "Who will be the regio-fox?", The students test their knowledge on how to ask "What is a region??" "Black Forest ham is a regional food?" "Where are potatoes grown here??".

in the "Regional game" Pupils seek out the right pairs in concealed cards and expose misleading indications of origin by the way. On the basis of the regional shopping basket, different foods are combined with the "Regional window" are examined.

Work materials for the station Regional specialist

How much a food affects the environment depends on many factors: production, preservation, packaging, origin, home transport, storage, preparation and waste separation.

Photo: VZ-NRW / Gebauer

The respective load is using the two Ecocalculator ➜ Meat and ➜ fruit / vegetables determined.

It creates a life cycle assessment for individual foods (strawberries, meat). The results are presented graphically on a poster. For example, the life cycle of strawberry and ground beef is different.

Furthermore, the pupils can determine the seasonal expert with the help of a seasonal calendar. An expert is anyone who knows as many fruits and vegetables as possible that are growing in Germany and also knows when they will be harvested. Seasonal foods harvested in Germany do not need to be transported far.

Environmental calculator for the station Environmental expert

How much a food contributes to the environmental impact depends on how it is produced, stored and how it is prepared.

First of all, the young people are asked to mentally go through a purchase of vegetables and meat. With the help of the environmental computer, the participants of the laptop are given the connection between buying behavior and environmental impact and given suggestions for an environmentally friendly nutritional behavior.

The Environmental Calculator shows an example of which stations in the food chain for meat or fruit and vegetables can make decisions for more environmentally friendly products.

During the Ess-Kult-Tour the results are visualized by the adolescents in the form of environmental stress points, the different environmental impacts of vegetables and meat are discussed and the reasons clarified.

The Environmental Calculator is based on a Life Cycle Assessment Program, which was prepared as part of a diploma thesis at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and can be accessed via the following Internet link: Environmental Calculator

Up to 40,000 commercials can be watched by children and adolescents, depending on television viewing per year. The positive statements of the advertisement influence the opinion to a product and steer thus the purchase decision. Young people rarely question what lies behind the advertising messages.

At this station, students analyze promotional clips and critically review their truth content. The focus is on product advertising, which wants to leave a specific impression with special terms. Afterwards, the young people answer questions about the advertising clip and design their own advertising poster.

Each station is thematically self-contained and can be edited independently of the other stations. The topics are worked on in parallel in small groups. The students can rotate between the stations or work on only one station with more intensive tasks. Work results of the stations will be discussed and evaluated in plenary session. Three to four lessons (45 minutes each) should be scheduled as a time frame, with the teacher and a nutritionist at the Consumer Center assisting the student.

A preparation and follow-up of the topics in the class is recommended and supported by the guideline for teachers. In addition, it is also possible to perform individual elements of the Ess-Kult-Tour without the support of a nutritionist of the consumer center on their own. All required materials are available under the respective stations for you to download for free.

General materials, games and quiz cards

The Ess-Kult-Tour is expandable in our offer by one station:

Ess-Kult-Tour Station: Be a food saver!

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If you like that interactive learning offer you want to book with us Contact on:

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Christina Cherry
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