The Eat/Feel/Do Better Campaign, first developed and tested in partnership with the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP), was launched in the Atlanta area in the summer of 2014, targeting African-American parents of pre-teens. The mission of this nutrition education campaign is to educate and motivate parents and caregivers about how changes in diet and nutrition can improve their children's lives in many ways. It urges parents to make do-able changes in the foods they buy for their children and make available to their families.
The pre-teen years are a time when young people are transitioning into decision-making that will affect their adult lives. Eat/Feel/Do Better aims to show youth how to make informed choices about what they eat and to encourage youth to maintain an active lifestyle, which has long-term health benefits. The key message to parents is that when kids eat better—that is, cut down on sugar, fat and processed foods—they will feel better and do better, in school and beyond. By consuming fewer empty calories, children will have more energy and focus and will be more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Substituting snacks that lack nutritional value for more healthful snacks is a simple, yet effective way to ensure better performance in school and other activities, including sports. Making these nutritional changes can also help address low self-esteem among many overweight children and decrease instances of bullying by their peers.
MEE's research shows that lack of access to affordable healthy foods and other environmental issues often make parents feel they have limited choices. That's why MEE focused its campaign on starting where parents CAN exert control, by making more informed choices about what they put in their shopping carts. Parents do not have to completely change what they buy in order to achieve results. Eat/Feel/Do Better begins by targeting three categories of grocery store purchases that, when substituted for healthier options, have positive (and achievable) impacts on nutrition: 1) breakfast cereals; 2) out-of-school snacks; and 3) sugary drinks. The campaign's "Least/Some/Most" guide lets parents know which foods their children should be eating less often, without necessarily eliminating them completely. Instead of discounting where families are starting on the journey to healthier eating, the campaign reframes the behavior change by focusing on do-able micro steps and strategic substitutions to build confidence (self-efficacy) that "see results."
Parents and guardians can look to Eat/Feel/Do Better for healthy recipes that fall within their budget and busy lifestyles, as well as guidance on how to shop for foods that are low in fat and sugar. MEE believes the better kids eat, the better they will feel; and the better they feel (including about themselves), the better they will do, giving all children a chance to achieve their full potential.