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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

5 Tips for Edu-Taining Food Demos

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

Chef wearing a crown and red apron is flipping foods with a frying pan

What is one of the most effective ways to teach and motivate healthy eating?

A food demonstration.

Food demonstrations are a highly effective approach for communicating food and nutrition knowledge and motivating audiences to take positive steps toward healthy eating. Participants are won over by the tips and tricks for easy prep and are wowed by the sights, smells, and delicious tastes.

Why are they so effective? Because...

Food Demos are Edu-taining!

What does it mean to be “edu-taining”? The word edutainment means entertainment that is also educational. A well-planned and executed food demonstration is the perfect example of edutainment.

Think about your favorite cooking show on the Food Network. What makes it successful? It not only teaches you how to cook, it entertains you. That’s edutainment!

I created a tip series providing 5 essential tips for creating an edu-taining food demonstration based on content found in Chapter 25 of Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide, which shares best practices, practical strategies, and a useful demonstration planning worksheet. Download a copy of this free tip sheet:

5 Tips for Edu-Taining Food Demos:

Tip #1: Determine your goals

If you’re looking to inform an audience about a food and nutrition topic, teach cooking skills, support positive attitudes about food and eating, or motivate healthy eating behaviors, there’s no better way than a food demonstration. Begin by deciding what you want your audience to know, feel, and do after your demo and create a plan and key messages to support your goals.

Tip #2: Plan, prepare, and practice

A great food demo takes a lot of work to make it look easy. Plan every step. Organize your demonstration area with trays of equipment, ingredients, and talking points for each recipe. Streamline the demonstration and eliminate unnecessary steps with advance preparations such as opening packages or measuring and cutting ingredients. Then practice, practice, practice!

Tip #3: Add value with tips and tricks

A great food demo is packed full of information that goes beyond the basic recipe or nutritional benefits. Do your research and fill the lulls and gaps by sharing fun and interesting facts about the ingredients and the recipe, helpful tips for shopping, alternative ingredients, menu ideas, tips and tricks for cooking and serving, and ways to store and use leftovers to reduce food waste.

Tip #4: Be Edu-Taining

A successful food demo not only educates the audience about food and nutrition and teaches valuable cooking skills, it is entertaining. Balance useful and accurate information with an appropriate amount of fun and flair. Select a theme and mood that fits your message and coordinate your set-up, your content, and your presentation style to match. Be edu-taining!

Tip #5: Engage your audience

An audience actively engaged in learning takes action because they have experienced the benefit. Get them involved in multiple ways – asking and answering questions, sharing tips, volunteering to help, passing out samples, and definitely tasting the finished product. When an audience knows they can make something and knows they like it, they will make it on their own. Success!

Are you looking for a new way to effectively communicate about food and nutrition? Do you want to change behaviors? Try a food demonstration! They take work, but achieve the desired results in a big way! Not to mention are lots of fun.

“People associate food with pleasure. Nutrition professionals can use food demonstrations to support a healthy and positive relationship with food.” ~ Jen Haugen and Martine Scannavino Chapter 25, Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide

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