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SMART Science
January / February 2013

Food for Thought

Many adults you know may make a New Year's resolution to eat healthier this year than last year. Eating healthyfood for thought is important to feel good and grow strong. This is true for everyone – kids as well as adults.
Do you really pay attention to what you eat, how often you eat, and how much you eat? It is really important to eat enough food. Food is used as a source of energy for your body. It is also important not to eat more food than you need. It isn't only the amount of food but the kind of food you eat that is important. Food gives us energy but also provides nutrients that are important for growth and keeping our bodies strong and healthy.
Nutrients are chemicals that provide energy and the building blocks for growth, development, and all of our activities. The main groups of nutrients that we as humans need are proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, and water. Proteins are found in meat and meat products, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, and various beans, grains, and plant foods. Carbohydrates are primarily sugars and starches found in pasta, bread, baked goods, fruits, and vegetables. Vitamins and minerals are used by your body in many ways, such as repairing body cells and building strong bones. Fats are a group of nutrients found in many foods. Some fats are not always easy to recognize.

(Insert photo of CJ and Zach doing the Fat Finder Test)

In the above photo nine-year old C. J. (on left) from Martins Ferry Elementary and nine -year old Zach from Hill Top Elementary are performing the Fat Finder Test at SMART Centre Market.

Fat Finder Testfat finder test
To find if a food contains fat, try the following activity.
You will need:
1) Brown paper from a brown paper bag
2) Ruler
3) Scissors
4) Spoons (metal spoons work best) - one for each food test
6) Various foods to test such as:
a) bread
b) celery
c) cheese
d) citrus fruit
e) peanut butter
f) grape jelly
g) vegetable oil
7) Several plates or a tray
8) Tape
9) Plastic wrap
10) Notebook and pen or pencil

What to do:
1) Measure the brown paper into 10cm (4 inch) by 10cm (4 inch) squares. You will need to measure these using your ruler. Cut the squares of brown paper bag. You will need as many brown paper squares as the number of each food sample you plan to test for fat content.
2) Write the name of each food on the bottom of the square of brown paper bag.
3) Tape the squares of brown paper bag to a plate or tray. Make sure the names of the food samples are facing up.
4) Predict in advance of performing the experiment which food samples contain fat. On a separate piece of paper, write down your name and each food sample. Write "fat" or "no fat" beside each food sample name. Get other friends and family members to do the same. Remember this is your science guess – your "Hypothesis". Making a hypothesis of the outcome of an experiment is an important part of doing good science. Keep in mind that it is OK if your hypothesis is wrong. Your hypothesis is the starting point of the conversation of science concerning the experiment you are doing and the outcome you expect. No one is keeping score – but everyone is learning.

(Insert photo of Fat Finder Test using peanut butter)

5) Using a spoon, take a small "spoon-tip" portion of food (if the food is "spoonable") about a cubic centimeter in volume, or about the size of the tip of your pinky finger. Now smear and / or rub this cubic centimeter food portion onto the middle area of the square of brown paper bag labeled with the same food name. Make sure to rub or smear enough to leave a US quarter sized spot on the square of brown paper bag. Use a "new" clean spoon for each food sample so as to not "cross-contaminate" your food samples.
6) For food samples that are not "spoonable", squash the food first between layers of plastic wrap using the convex (curves out) underside of the spoon to squish / roll the food against the table top causing the food to crush. Make sure you do not use the same spoon for each food sample crushing. Smear the crushed food sample onto the middle area of the square of brown paper bag labeled with the same food name. Make sure to rub or smear enough of the crushed food sample to leave a US quarter sized spot on the square of brown paper bag.
7) Using the edge of a metal spoon – scrape away any remaining food sample from each spot. Make sure to use a "new" clean spoon to scrape away the food. Make sure not to scrape over the food name on the square of brown paper bag.
8) Place the plate or tray with all the experimental squares of brown paper bag with food smears still taped to it aside and out of the way for 48 hours (two days) to allow time for any spot made by water to dry leaving only spots made by fats.
9) After 48 hours, examine the experimental squares of brown paper bag for each food sample. Which food samples left a greasy-looking spot on them?
10) For some food samples it may be difficult to tell the difference between a stain and a greasy-looking spot after the sample dries. You may see the greasy spot more easily by holding each experimental square up to a light. If some light passes through this is a true greasy spot. Vegetable oil contains fat and is the control food substance for this experiment.
11) This greasy spot indicates that the food sample contained fat.