Les Petits Chefs search for “Nutrition in the Aisles”

Kids visiting Loblaws on Nutrition field trip on eatlivetravelwrite.comNo cooking for the Petits Chefs this week (but we have some very exciting guests coming to work with the boys for the final two sessions of the year – stay tuned!) because we tried something a little different – a food-related field trip! I was really interested to learn that the Field Trip Factory offers free field trips to local supermarkets – in this case, Loblaws – to take part in the “Nutrition in our Aisles“.  Nutrition is also a part of food education – teaching kids to cook is one thing, but teaching then how to shop is entirely something else – and no less important, in fact, I’d say nearly more so.

Portion sizes and understanding nutritional information labels is so important in learning how to eat right so I was happy to hear that we’d tour the store with a Registered Dietitian and learn to make healthier food choices. The fact that the Loblaws store I chose to visit (at Maple Leaf Gardens) is such a beautiful store did make me wish I had set aside more time to simply, well, wander…. I took my younger students on the same trip last week and found it fascinating to watch them in the aisles of a supermarket, looking at what caught their eye and listening to them learn all about nutrition labels and how to read them.

Wall of cheese at Loblwas Carlton St on eatlivetravelwrite.com Ace Bakery in Loblaws Carlton St on eatlivetravelwrite.comDeli at Loblaws Carlton St on eatlivetravelwrite.comProduce section in the supermarket on eatlivetravelwrite.com Apples in the supermarket on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe tour itself, led by the charming Nema McGlynn was an interactive hands-on learning experience where the boys learned all about making informed healthy food choices using Canada’s Food Guide and the Guiding Stars® nutrition labeling system.   Guiding Stars is “a food rating system that rates food based on nutrient density using a scientific algorithm to assign a 0, 1, 2 or 3 star rating. The program rates foods based on vitamins, minerals, fibre, whole grains, Omega-3s, saturated fat, trans fat, added sodium and added sugar. “No stars” means, although the food was rated, it didn’t meet the nutrition criteria to earn a star.”  It’s actually a great way to quickly scan products to see which ones are the better choices.

Apples on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe boys started out in the produce section chatting about portion size and thinking about healthy combinations of foods to combine for better snacking.  They were each asked to choose a fruit and tell Nema what they would pair with it for a healthy snack (so, things like bananas with peanut or soy-nut butter). I was amused (and proud) to listen as one boy told Nema he would make a shortcrust pastry (from scratch) and use his raspberries to make a tartlette. Although that wasn’t exactly the type of snack Nema was aiming for, clearly I have trained these boys well 🙂

We moved on from the produce section to chips and salty snacks and bread aisles. The boys spent a lot of time reading labels and trying to figure out “better choices”…

Kids working with a dietitian at Loblaws on eatlivetravelwrite.comThey were fascinated with, of all things, Twinkies. It turns out that many of them had never eaten one but had “heard” that they are bad for you. The nutritional information on the label confirmed this!

Checking nutritional facts on eatlivetravelwrite.com Kids checking food labels on eatlivetravelwrite.com Kids reading supermarket labels on eatlivetravelwrite.comI think apart from the nutritional information itself, the thing the boys were most surprised about was the idea of portion sizes.  It’s a good lesson for ANYONE, kids or adults, to learn that what they consider a portion size might actually be 2 or even 3 portions. To say some eyes were opened would be an understatement!

After the tour (just under an hour although I have a feeling we could have spent MANY hours in there – a supermarket is such a GREAT destination for a kids’ field trip!), Nema took a few volunteers to choose some snacks (I thought there might have been some  gentle guidance there but for the most part, they devoured the food!) which we sat down to enjoy together…

Kids eating healthy snacks at Loblaws on eatlivetravelwrite.com(yes, gotta love the plating and the setting of the table! These are some well-brought up young men!)

I left this field trip wishing I had made this a full afternoon of activities, which I just might do next year. So many valuable life lessons to be learned in the humble supermarket aisles…

Check out the Field Trip Factory website for more information about field trips in Canada and the US.
View Canada’s Food Guide online.
Printable version of Canada’s Food Guide.


BreakfastTVEXCITING NEWS!  I am thrilled to announce that tomorrow, Friday May 30th, Breakfast Television‘s LiveEye will be at the school filming members of both the Petits Chefs and Cooking Basics cooking clubs!  We’ll be cooking up a variety of dishes over the course of the morning and our segments will be live to air at the following times: 6.40am, 7.12am, 7.50am, 8.24am and 8.50am. I’ll have 18 boys working in groups of 3 on six different recipes – it’s going to be TOTALLY fine, right?!  The boys and I are so excited to showcase what we do each week – kids learning to cook real food!

If you’re interested, you can catch Breakfast Television on CityTV (find the channel number depending on your provider here). You can also watch Breakfast Television from 5:30 to 9 a.m. online at BTtoronto.ca, or on the Breakfast Television mobile app for iOS and Android. Wish us luck!


Canadian readers: Enter to win a copy of “Beerology”. Ends Sunday June 1st 6pm EST!


6 thoughts on “Les Petits Chefs search for “Nutrition in the Aisles””

  1. That would have been an amusing field trip to watch the boys on.

    Wouldn’t expect them to forego “unhealthy snacks” entirely, of course: but increasing an awareness is so good.

    As they say…all things in moderation.

    I didn’t see any pics, but wonder if the nutritionist covered off the huge amounts of sugars and salts in processed foods – most notably sodas and drinks – and the huge negative impact on health.

    (For good measure, I hope she covered the entirely false benefits of most bottled water.)

  2. That particular Loblaws looks like a wonderful store! Nothing like that here in little Perth 🙂 Great educational field trip for LPC. Portion size is a real eye-opener for many others too!

    I watched your video clips from Breakfast Television on CityTV. Your LPC were awesome! How proud you must be of them all and rightfully so. Once again, a fabulous term for all of you.

    Best wishes for continued and growing success next year with your LPC.


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