What is Teen2Chef?

What is Teen2Chef?

Teen2Chef is a 10-week food literacy program for adolescents. This program was created in conjunction with Registered Dietitians from children’s hospitals across Canada as part of the Meant2Prevent initiative for type 2 diabetes prevention.


This program was developed to be run by Registered Dietitians to improve the food literacy of adolescents and establish healthy lifestyle habits with the goal of improving lifelong health and reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. The program consists of 10, 2-hour sessions that involve a combination of nutrition education, activities, and food skills development.


The Teen2Chef program has been translated into French (Jeune chefs en devenir) to accommodate our Billingual population and is accessible on Meant2Prevent’s French site, Prevenir Pour Devenir.

Project Members

The Teen2Chef program was developed by registered dietitians from 4 Children’s Hospitals across Canada including SickKids in Ontario, CHU Sainte Justine in Quebec, IWK in Nova Scotia, and Janeway Lifestyle Program in Newfoundland.

Program Overview:

Teen2Chef was developed as a 10-session program but includes a variation for shortened 6-session curriculum.

Each 2 hour session is broken down into 3 components:

  • Nutrition education
  • Nutrition based activity
  • Food skills development and cooking


Session Topics:

Each session focuses on a different nutrition topic, and has corresponding activities and recipes for participants to complete.

Examples of topics:

  • Eating 101 and balanced plate
  • Hydration and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Macronutrients
  • Label reading
  • Navigating the grocery store
  • Adapting recipes



All recipes included in the Teen2Chef program were created by Registered Dietitians, and have been taste-tested by teens to ensure they are delicious as well as nutritious!

Recipes can be found on Meant2Prevent’s Kitchen website, along with other healthy and nutritious recipes.

Learn more about the Meant2Prevent Kitchen project here.

breakdown of sessions Teen2Chef
Teen2Chef program images from participant activity book

Development of Teen2Chef

Did you know that healthy lifestyle habits learned as children are more likely to be continued into adulthood? This could improve the long-term health of our children and help them to be healthy adults.

Teen2Chef was created to improve the food literacy of our children and to provide them with lifelong skills and nutrition knowledge that will help them to lead healthier lives.

What Is Food Literacy?

Food literacy is having the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy healthy food to support one’s health, community and the environment. It means understanding the impact of our food choices on our health, the environment and our economy.

Fraser Health

How The Program was Created:

To create the Teen2Chef program, Dietitians from the 4 children’s hospitals across Canada worked together to create a curriculum that included nutrition knowledge, food choices, preparation, and cooking skill development.

The development process went through a number of cycles to come up with a list of topics that the dietitians felt were important. Focus groups were held with teens to find out what information they were most interested in.


Program Testing:

After the initial development, Teen2Chef was piloted at 3 sites:

  • London Health Sciences, Ontario
  • The Hospital for Sick Children, Ontario
  • Janeway Lifestyle Program, Newfoundland

Feedback provided by facilitators and participants was used to adapt the program before being finalized and translated to French.


Running the Program:

To make sure that any dietitian interested in running Teen2Chef has all the necessary information to host a successful program, a facilitator guide is provided.


The guide goes into detail about:

  • Overview of program
  • Materials needed for each session including ingredients and equipment
  • Checklist to ensure all program elements are taken care of prior to starting
  • Required handouts and what information will be covered in each session
  • Sample questions to direct the nutrition education component and key points for the facilitator to highlight
  • Activity details

Evaluation and Feedback:


Food Literacy Questionnaires are provided for participants to fill out before starting the Teen2Chef program, as well as after it is completed.  These were developed based on validated food literacy questionnaires and include questions to determine current practices, cooking confidence, food skills, and barriers to change.


Facilitators and participants both have opportunities to provide feedback on the program so that changes can be made in the future. Facilitators can use this feedback when they run future programs, and can also email it to the Teen2Chef team so improvements can be made.


Feedback forms were also created to provide facilitators and participants with the opportunity to make suggestions for improvements.


“The food skills program is a program that goes beyond learning to cook. Teens learn to collaborate, take responsibility in performing a task while learning to work to attend a goal: that of finishing and enjoying a great dish…”
– Facilitator

“He told me that he’d put mushrooms and spinach on his pizza, and he liked it!”
– Parent of participant

“[He] is a lot more willing to try new things, and asks me to make the smoothie with spinach all the time!”
– Parent of participant

Future Plans: 

Despite programs being placed on hold due to COVID in March 2020, some of our sites are adapting the program to virtual. You can read more about London Ontario’s Virtual Teen2Chef program here


To improve the accessibility of the Teen2Chef program, we have partnered with BC’s Food Skills for Families program. The Food Skills for Families team will be running Teen2Chef as a pilot in 2021.

Peer-Led Learning:

To continue improving access to the Teen2Chef program for families across the country, we are working on a virtual Teen2Chef program that will be run through social media.

Check back to hear more about this exciting research soon!

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