Tel Aviv’s teens learn to eat what’s good — and good for them

Students can pay for made-to-order meals in advance or go to the cafeteria and grab a healthy snack during lunch. Menu selections vary from meatballs baked in hummus to wraps with chili con carne and acorn squash.

Everybody knows that it’s close to impossible to get kids to eat what’s good for them, right? Teens in Tel Aviv are proving this isn’t necessarily the case.

Last month, the Tel Aviv innovation team (i-team) completed a pilot program, the Cafeteria Project, with Tichonet High School. Knowing that poor nutrition can be linked to difficulty in school, the i-team worked with chef Itai Farkas, an ambassador for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, to create a pop-up cafeteria that experimented with tasty approaches to helping students eat better food.

Farkas and his team tested everything from chicken curry and meatballs baked in hummus to beef and bean stew. Sometimes the meals were made-to-order. Other times food was prepared in advance and available whenever students wanted to grab a quick meal or snack.

The verdict? As one 11th grader said, “I didn’t expect too much…But this is something completely different, there’s delicious food.”

Now that the trial period has ended, the i-team is working on a cost-effective model for regularly serving students the meals they most preferred, and schools throughout the city have expressed interest in replicating the project.

Students at Tichonet High School enjoy a nutritious and tasty meal. The school tested how to serve healthy lunches at an affordable price in effort to help students eat better food.
Students contributed to the Cafeteria Project by constructing furniture for the cafeteria itself.
The i-teams Cafeteria Project tested different culinary options to build a model for how to best serve healthy meals the teens like to eat.

Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program.

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