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Navigating High School Nutrition in the TikTok Era.. Gen Z needs more than "My Plate."

Updated: Mar 12

Ah, TikTok - where trends are born, and diet advice from13 year olds run wild. I know you've already stumbled upon the latest "IT GIRL" aesthetic (my entire feed is full of it) or the newest TikTok diet trend.. It stresses me wondering what impact these messages have on our teens. There is so much NOISE and so many people claiming to know the best way to live a healthy life but they offer anything but healthy ideas. OR they offer good ideas, but too many of them and it's confusing knowing how to incorporate it into our lives.



All the info coming in about nutrition from their screens.



As health teachers, we can't just give them a printout of 'My Plate' and call it a day. It's time for something that speaks their language.


Here are the 2 biggest things I've found helpful when teaching TEENS nutrition!


Make It Relatable: Use Their Language, Meet Them Where They Are


The key to reaching Gen Z? Speak their language. Use examples from popular TikTok trends and influencers to start conversations about nutrition. For instance, dissect a viral 'what I eat in a day' video to discuss the realities of such diets and the importance of a balanced diet. This method not only makes the lesson more engaging but also teaches critical thinking by encouraging students to question and analyze the health advice they are bombarded with online.


Create your own classroom aesthetic that is a balanced and fun outlook on healthy living.


Why do you think the 'it girl aesthetic' is so popular? It's attractive! (not sure why, but this Will Farrell movie clip comes to my mind.)



We need health education to get the students going... we need it to be aspirational yet achievable and science-based. The problem with relying solely on traditional nutrition methods is that it's not engaging, and students are more likely to be drawn to the pretty images on their screens than what's in the classroom. We need a balanced and nutritious life to be the vibe.


Now look... I don't like the idea that we have to compete with TikTok for information, or that we need to become cooler than what they see online; it's impossible. However, we can make a difference by at least trying to understand their appeal to this digital world and create activities that help them navigate it without getting the eye roll. When used with

discernment, TikTok can provide amazing information about health from doctors and credible sources...


it's time to use it to our advantage.


But how?


I start my nutrition unit off with this FAD Diet Activity... it gives students a great way to see how diet trends evolve and it moves to our modern day that might make them laugh a bit when they see we are just as flawed as the 'air diet' in the 70s.



click on the image to go to the TPT resource


(if your school has a No-No Policy for TPT, here is my own website where you can get this lesson)


I also love using this BLUE ZONES Bundle which does a deep dive into the worlds longest living people today.




Or just check out my FULL Nutrition Unit which is full of curriculum Gen Z would approve of and relate to!




You don't need to get my unit to have an amazing nutrition unit that speaks to your students. There are many ways to connect with them and speak their language. But if you want to try out what I've made, here are the links.


Enjoy your Health Unit... and get the students going :p


Teach On

Katie


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