October 20, 2021


For remarkable cuisine

La Jolla Girl Scouts hungry to educate others about healthy eating

With an appetite for public service, a La Jolla-based troop of Girl Scouts has created an electronic booklet designed to educate young students about good nutrition.

Troop 3655, composed of Aubery Branstetter, Ava Grudko, Sophie Hochberg, Sarah Kaplan, Grayson Lejuwaan, Elizabeth Parr, Annie Peppers, Samantha Ponticello, Paige Repp, Gigi Smith and Sofia St. Pé, all sophomores at La Jolla Country Day School, La Jolla High School or The Bishop’s School, wrote the booklet after the girls researched healthy eating.

The girls also consulted three local experts: Julie MacDonald, manager of the La Jolla Open Aire Market, food writer Catharine Kaufman and nutritionist Lauren Weiss.

“A Girl Scouts Guide to Healthy Eating,” published in March, covers topics such as organic food, immune-boosting foods, healthy recipes and carbon footprint.

“The idea behind the booklet,” Sofia said, “was to not only help promote healthy eating but also tell our readers the warning signs and things that they might not know about where their food is coming from.”

The booklet “is important because it brings awareness to the misnomers and fake facts that come to mind when someone says ‘healthy,’” Ava said. “Healthy food doesn’t have to be crazy expensive or hard to find. It just takes that extra second to check the ingredients list and think ‘Do I want that going into my body?’”

The girls chose to do a booklet as part of the Girl Scouts’ “Take Action” project, which the troop must complete as a group before tackling the organization’s Gold Award. The chosen project must “make a mark in the community that will last,” Grayson said.

Girl Scout Troop 3655 members

Girl Scout Troop 3655 members Aubery Branstetter, Ava Grudko, Sophie Hochberg, Sarah Kaplan, Grayson Lejuwaan, Elizabeth Parr, Annie Peppers, Samantha Ponticello, Paige Repp, Gigi Smith and Sofia St. Pé collaborated on a booklet to promote healthy eating.

(Kat Peppers)

The troop considered other ideas, such as planting a community garden, but ultimately chose an e-book “to encourage people and educate people on healthier eating … especially during COVID,” when people were unable to gather, Elizabeth said.

“We were thinking, ‘What can we do to get to reach the most amount of people safely and effectively?’” Sofia said.

Ava said “we want to educate kids our age, and those of all ages, how to eat healthily and happily. It’s really important to know what’s going into your body, since the way you eat impacts how you look and feel, inside and out.”

Creating the booklet had some effects on the girls’ own eating. Paige said she learned “what kind of products are best for our bodies and aren’t as harmful to the environment,” and she has shifted her eating some to focus more on organic foods.

The troop will send the booklet out with a future La Jolla Elementary School newsletter and hopes for further outreach such as a booth at the Open Aire Market or attending local elementary school assemblies.

“I hope others will read the booklet and learn how to shop healthier and more affordably,” Ava said. “By purchasing groceries at the local farmers market, for example, you are supporting local businesses and keeping a more balanced diet. Plus, you’ll be helping out the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.”

“We are in no way trying to judge you or your lifestyle,” Ava added. “We just want to inform you of the benefits of choosing to switch up your food shopping habits and hopefully encourage you to try them out for yourself.” ◆