Food Fights

Length of Program

60-90 minutes

Program Description

Food is a very important part of every teen’s life, and today’s teens face many challenges to selecting and eating healthy food. This program will help teens discover that food can be healthy and fun as they have chocolate tasting parties, play games such as banana jousting, participate in a food fear factor contest,and create and share favorite dishes.

Developmental Needs and Assets

Teens will discover adult role models as local chefs, cooks, and nutritionists demonstrate their skills and discuss why their work is important. They will receive recognition and a boost in self-esteem for making and sharing favorite dishes. Social interactions will provide opportunities for positive peer influence. Teens will also discover that being creative with food is an enjoyable and constructive use of their time.


Librarians will need to purchase a variety of items for the program, including food for refreshments and to use in the activities (chocolate, bananas, prepackaged foods, etc.), as well as rubber gloves for each participant, incentives, toothpicks, paper plates, and plastic ware. Non-food items can be purchased locally or online at Party City at Rubber gloves may be purchased at Toilet Paper World at

Invite guest speakers such as chefs, nutritionists, and health food store representatives to present information about cooking and healthy foods, or to discuss organics and vegetarianism.

Books to Display

  • Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food by Eric Schlosser.
  • Cooking Up a Storm by Sam Stern.
  • Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by Megan Carle.
  • The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic.

Books to Booktalk

  • Fat Boy Swim by Catherine Forde.
  • Flavor of the Week by Tucker Shaw.
  • Girls Dinner Club by Jessie Elliot.
  • Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.


Entice your teens with a display of cookbooks and cooking DVDs. Include props with your display such as silverware, plates, napkins, and artificial food items.

Bulletin Board

Ask your staff and teens to recommend recipes to put on the bulletin board. Make color photocopies or digital photos of the dishes and display them on your bulletin board. Indicate which staff member or teen recommended each, and include the recipes. An example of a recipe is included below. You may also copy brochures or flyers with the recipes to give to teens interested in cooking them at home.


A food program would not be complete without refreshing beverages. In addition to the food served during the program, serve soda and other beverages. Serve Yoo-hoo during the Chocolate Tasting Party, or a punch made with ginger ale and pineapple sherbet for the What Are You Making event. For the Banana Jousting activity, serve Orange Strawberry Banana Juice Blend from Tropicana. For the Food Fear Factor, serve fruit punch with something interesting in it, such as plastic spiders or fruit cocktail that has been drained.


Teens love to cook and enjoy working with great implements. Provide incentives such as measuring cups, measuring spoons, spatulas, whisks, and other kitchen utensils. These are all available at local stores such as Target, or online at Ice cream scoops, aprons, and grip openers are available at Oriental Trading Company at If you like, place your library’s logo on the grip openers.

Games and Activities

What Are You Making?

Before the program begins, purchase food from your local grocery store such as marshmallows, candy bars, cookies, graham crackers, fruit, sauces, chips, dips, tortillas, bread, peanut butter, etc. and other items that do not require cooking. You might also want to buy foods that are unusual such as Wasabi peas or some interesting cheeses.

At the program, teens will create dishes out of the food provided. For example, they might make a main dish that does not require cooking and may be served cold, such as sandwiches, wraps, or salads. The might make desserts by combining the cookies, fruit, and dip. Provide pads or clipboards so that the teens may write down the ingredients in their recipes. You may also consider providing a hot plate or electric skillet for the participants to use for this activity so that teens can make a greater variety of recipes.

Give the winners prizes such as measuring cups, measuring spoons, spatulas, whisks, and other kitchen utensils for recipes in several categories, such as most delicious main dish, side dish, appetizer, or dessert. These are available at local stores such as Target or online at

Chocolate Tasting Party

Teens love chocolate! In the three Chocolate Tasting Party activities that follow, teens will identify chocolate candy by sight and by taste and discover their “chocolate personalities”!

Note: If any of the chocolate will include peanuts or other nuts, announce this in advance and ask teens to bring parental permission slips.

Chocolate Tasting Party: Name That Candy Bar

Can you identify a type of candy bar by looking at its cross-section? Name That Candy Bar tests the teen’s ability to recognize a type of candy bar only by sight. For ideas for chocolate candy bars to include, visit Thinking Fountain Name that Candy Bar at (Teens can also play an online candy bar identification game at this site.) For a greater challenge, choose chocolate candy bars that teens might not immediately recognize.

  • Pencils
  • Guess cards
  • Paper plates
  • Tables
  • Five or more types of chocolate candy bars

In preparation for the Name That Candy Bar activity, cut five or more candy bars in half. Place the unwrapped, cross-section of each candy bar on a paper plate, as shown in the photo. Number the paper plates and place them in a row on a table as shown in the Name That Candy Bar Table Set-up photo. Make “guess cards” for each chocolate candy bar for the teens to write their answers using the example of a “Chocolate Candy Bar Guess Card” included with this program, or design your own. Place a bowl in front of each paper plate to hold the teens’ guess cards.


At the beginning of the program, read or paraphrase the following instructions to the teens.

“Guess the cross-section of the five candy bars. Each of you is permitted only one guess per candy bar cross-section. You may only look. No touching, smelling, or tasting is allowed. Write down your answer on the guess card that corresponds to that candy bar cross-section. Write your name on the guess card, and place it in the bowl in front of each chocolate candy bar cross-section.”

Ask one group of teens to visit the table at a time. Groups of five work well. Once all the teens have guessed, reveal the answers. Place the guess cards with correct answers for each candy bar into a drawing. Give the teens whose names are on the winning cards that particular candy bar, or possibly a giant size version of that candy bar.

Chocolate Tasting Party: Chocolate Candy Guess

The Chocolate Candy Guess combines chocolate tasting with an element of mystery. Teens will be blindfolded during this taste test of delicious chocolate candy.

  • Blindfolds (1 per participant)
  • Water
  • Cardstock paper
  • Chairs
  • Cups
  • Gloves
  • Guess Cards
  • Knife
  • Paper mini-cupcake baking cups
  • Paper Plates
  • Paper Napkins
  • Pencils
  • Serving trays
  • Tablecloths
  • Tables
  • Variety of Chocolate Candy

Purchase a variety of chocolate candy for each round of the chocolate tasting. For example, if you have ten rounds, purchase ten different types of chocolate, ranging from milk, dark, smooth, and/or white chocolate, to miniature candy bars and chocolate candies such as Snickers and M&Ms. Once you have purchased the chocolate candy for the game, you can make and print a guess card on cardstock paper designed similarly to the Chocolate Candy Guess Card Sample provided. To increase the difficulty of the Chocolate Candy Guess, list chocolate candies on the teens’ guess cards that are similar to each other.

On the day of the program, set up tables in one long row with chairs for the number of teens participating. To complement the chocolate theme, cover the tables with dark brown tablecloths. Set a place for each teen with the following items: a pencil, guess card, paper plate and napkin, a cup or bottle of water, and a blindfold. Wearing gloves and using a knife, cut each chocolate candy into bite-size pieces. Place each bite-size piece into a paper mini-cupcake baking cup on a serving tray. Each tray should contain only one type of chocolate candy. Store the serving trays out of sight until the teens arrive and you are ready to begin the game.


During each round, teens will wear a blindfold while the candy trays are out. Teens will be served one “mystery” chocolate candy sample per round. Place a sample chocolate from a single tray on the paper plates in front of each blindfolded teen seated at the table. Allow teens 15 to 30 seconds to touch, smell, taste, and eat the chocolate candy sample, but they may not LOOK at it. When time is up, clear any chocolate candy sample that has not been eaten from the table. Then tell the teens to remove their blindfolds and record their guesses on their cards, and tell them not to share their guesses with their neighbors or friends. Once teens have recorded their guesses, they put their blindfolds back on for the next round.

Teens may cleanse their palates with a sip of water between rounds. After all ten rounds are complete, ask each teen to hand their guess cards to the teen to the left of them. Then announce the type of each chocolate candy from each round. The teens will place a check after each correct answer. After the name of every chocolate candy has been revealed, teens write the total number of correct answers at the bottom of the cards and return them to their original owners. Ask the teens how many have ten correct answers. If none named all of the chocolates correctly, then ask how many have nine correct answers, or eight, or seven… Place the guessing cards for the teens with the most correct answers into a prize drawing and give the winners boxes of assorted chocolate candy or chocolate-scented candles, which are available at local stores such as Target or online at Any leftover chocolate candy samples can be eaten by the teens after the competition.

Chocolate Tasting Party: The Candy Bar Personality Test

Ever feel a little nutty? This activity allows teens to uncover their inner candy bar personality. Make and format a list of candy bars onto a card as shown in the example of the Candy Bar Personality Guess Card. Ask the teens to circle the name of their favorite candy bar from the candy bars listed on the card using a pencil. They may only select one type of candy bar. Once all participants have completed their card, announce each type of candy bar and ask the teens to raise their hands if they circled that candy bar. Read the descriptions aloud from The Candy Bar Personality Test Answers included with this program. Alternatively, the answers could be read to the teens in between rounds of the Chocolate Candy Guess. Make up descriptions of personalities to go with each candy bar, or use the suggestions on the Silly Buddies Online Community web site at

Banana Jousting

Banana Jousting is a messy, outdoor food fight inspired by medieval jousting. Ask staff to donate old, over-sized t-shirts that teens can wear to cover their clothes for armor, purchase large plastic garbage bags that the teens can cut holes for their arms and heads, or purchase disposable plastic aprons. See the photos at the end of this chapter. Vendors for plastic aprons include the Dharma Trading Company at

Purchase enough bananas for each teen to play at least two rounds, or two bananas for each teen. Host the program outside the library building in a grassy area or rope off a section of the library parking lot. If the weather conditions do not permit the program to be held outside, you may hold the program indoors, but be sure to cover the floor with plastic drop cloths.

  • Bananas (approximately 2 bananas per teen)
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard / poster board
  • Markers, paint and paintbrushes, colored pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • Ruler
  • Duct tape
  • Garbage bags
  • Paper plates
  • Foil
  • Napkins
  • Disposable plastic aprons

Before the program, set up a table with a variety of craft materials, including scissors, glue, markers, pens/pencils, paint, paintbrushes, and other decorative materials, such as glitter, rhinestones, ribbon etc. On the table, place craft materials and cardboard and/or poster board for shields, and several copies of the Banana Jousting Templates 1 & 2. Let teens get creative as they construct shields and coats of arms from cardboard and/or poster board, craft supplies, and duct tape. The teens trace and cut out the shield shape of their choice onto a piece of poster board or cardboard using the templates, and then decorate them with the craft materials to make a shield with a coat of arms. For simplicity, the shields could also be made out of paper plates covered in foil.

After the shields are decorated and have dried, the teens can make a handle from duct tape by folding a 6-inch strip of duct tape length-wise and taping it to the back of their shields. (It is a good idea to begin folding in the center of the strip and line the two edges up, carefully pressing on the fold and sliding fingers away from the center.) Teens can attach the handle to their shields with 2-inch strips of duct tape and then reinforce it by covering the 2-inch strips with 6-inch strips. They will need to leave a bulge in the duct tape for gripping that is large enough for their hands to fit through. The shields are now ready for action!

Give the teens over-sized t-shirts to wear over their clothes for armor, or give them large, plastic garbage bags and let them cut holes for their arms and heads, or give them disposable plastic aprons.

Let the Jousting Begin!

To joust, a pair of teens face off, a good distance apart, each armed with a shield and an unpeeled banana. Teens hold the bananas at the stem with the end of the banana jutting out like a lance or sword. The teens watching collectively call out “1, 2, 3, Joust!” as a signal for the banana jousters to begin. Upon hearing the starting signal, the pair of teens gallops toward each other and begins sword fighting with their bananas. The teens may hit the bananas together but may not hit each other with the bananas. At the end of each round, the teen with more of his or her banana intact in his or her hand wins. The winner plays the next challenger. Give each player a fresh banana for each round and continue playing until no bananas are left.

Food Fear Factor

Conduct the ultimate gross-out food “reality” competition: Food Fear Factor by Michele Gorman from the Into the Wilderness: Survival of the Fittest program in the young adult chapter of the 2005 Texas Reading Club manual. The program is on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission web site at

Guest Speakers

Invite a local chef to talk to the teens about cooking for a living and provide a cooking lesson or demonstration. Or, invite the nutritionist from your local school district or hospital to talk to the teens about healthy foods and eating right. Alternatively, a representative from a health food store could discuss organics and vegetarianism.

Web Sites

4 Girls Health
This website is dedicated to girl’s health and includes information on nutrition, grooming, safety, relationships, and fitness.
Better Health USA: Healthy Eating Tips for Teens
This article provides information on proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also includes some ideas for balanced and easy meals.
This website provides information about health and nutrition for girls and includes games and videos on fitness.
Vegetarian Nutrition for Teens
This website gives information on the nutrients teens need, healthy weights for teens, and also introduces some famous vegetarians teens can identify with.

Films, Video recordings, and DVDs

Show these videos and DVDs or segments of them if you have public performance rights. Otherwise, display them for home use.

  • Bugs for Breakfast. (19 minutes)
  • Supersize Me. (96 minutes)
  • Vegetarian Cooking with Compassionate Cooks. (70 minutes)

Professional Resources

Dharma Trading Co.
This online supplier of clothing sells disposable plastic aprons suitable for the Banana Jousting program.
Food Fear Factor
The ultimate gross-out food reality competition, Food Fear Factor, is included as an activity in the program, Into the Wilderness: Survival of the Fittest, in the young adult chapter of the 2005 Texas Reading Club manual entitled Get Wild...Read! by Michele Gorman.
Name that Candy Bar – Science Museum of Minnesota
This web site features cross-sections of various types of candy bars and may be used as a resource for the Name that Candy Bar activity.
Oriental Trading Company
An online business that has party favors and interesting gifts.
Party City
This online business has party supplies and decorations for the Food Fights program.
SillyBuddies – The Chocolate Bar Personality Test
Use this web site as a resource for the Candy Bar Personality Test activity during your Chocolate Tasting Party.
An online site for Target stores with merchandise ranging from clothes to kitchen and household wares.
Online business resource for purchasing rubber gloves for Food Fights programs.

Craft Materials

Bulletin Board Recipes

Blank recipe card templates

Chocolate Tasting Party: Name That Candy Bar Table Set-up Photos

Table with a piece of candy bar on a plate, slip of paper that says 'name' and 'your guess'

Table with several different candy bars laid out like the one above.

Chocolate Tasting Party: Name That Candy Bar Instruction Sign

Name that Candy Bar sign.  See long description.

Chocolate Tasting Party: Name That Candy Bar Guess Card #1

Blank guess cards.  Candy bar number, name, and guess.

Chocolate Tasting Party: Chocolate Candy Guess Card #2

Blank guess cards.  List of candy bars with space to write in the guess number.

Chocolate Tasting Party: The Candy Bar Personality Test

What's your Candy Bar Personality? See long description.

Answers to the Candy Bar Personality Test

Once every participant has filled out their card, you can announce each type of candy bar and have the teens raise their hands corresponding to the candy bar they circled. Read the descriptions aloud to the group.

Baby Ruth
You are sweet, loving, cuddly, and sometimes a little nutty.
You are funny and lively. Everyone enjoys being around you.
You are smooth and articulate. You know how to express yourself.
Almond Joy
You are fun-loving and giving. You are full of energy and life.
3 Musketeers
You are adventurous and full of new ideas. You are always ready for a battle.
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar
You are romantic, warm, and loving. You care about others

Banana Jousting Photo

Two teens jousting with bananas.

Banana Jousting Templates #1 and #2

  1. Print out, copy and cut out shield template.
  2. Trace the shield shape onto a piece of poster or cardboard.
  3. Paste the piece of board to the back of your shield.

Simple shield shape.

Police/fire shield shape

Page last modified: August 12, 2011