This past week Kay, Anna and I had the opportunity to teach a class at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Ca. We were invited to teach the children of “Googlers” (the Google word for employees) about the importance of healthy eating and the keys to creating a well-balanced lunch. We wanted to make it fun and interactive for the kids so we created different demonstrations to show them inspiring and easy ways to make lunches. As it turned out, all of the kids signed up to attend weren’t able to make it so it ended up being a class of all adults who just wanted to learn some healthy lunch making tips. All of them admitted to being “big kids” at heart so the class ended up with just the right audience. (We should have known when we saw the beach volleyball court and the multi colored bikes all around campus that regardless of their age we’d be teaching kids in big people’s bodies).
We arrived an hour before class, got our visitor passes and were escorted by head Chef Davita (you have to have a Googler to swipe you into any door, even the bathrooms!).. Google has over 30 different café’s at their Mountain View campus, one for every building and each café has its own theme: Asian, Mexican, American, etc. We were in their newest cafe named “The Kitchen Sync”. The Kitchen Sync has an amazing all glass teaching kitchen that sits in the center of the café. Classes are videotaped and streamed to monitors that are mounted throughout the café for diners to view while enjoying their healthy gourmet fare.
The Kitchen Sync is focused on healthy meal options, where every dish is less than 700 calories. They have a team of nutritionists on site who plan out meals, calculate calorie amounts. They also plan events inviting guests (like us) to come and present information on various aspects of healthy eating as well as cooking demonstrations. We were told that the first generation of Googlers were mostly young men who didn’t prioritize healthy eating, and since food is provided for free at Google, there was no need to buy food or cook for yourself! But now most of these employees are starting families or have young families and want to learn about preparing healthy foods, so the company is aiming at giving them tools to keep their families healthy.
When we got there all the food was prepared for us and laid out by the kitchen staff in little glass bowls, so there was hardly any set up. Kay practiced for her talk while Anna and I laid out the food and the bento boxes we brought for the people in the class to take home. We had a great turnout! People were really excited about the lunches and all the creativity tools we brought along. We gave them a list of food options and had them fill out a worksheet with different lunch menu ideas. Then they got to create their own lunches with the food the Google team had prepared. We showed them several ideas for making lunches exciting such as the dolphin banana, bear shaped sandwiches and banana almond butter sushi roll-ups (a big hit!). Most people stayed after class to ask questions and give us input on the presentation as well as the bento boxes and tools.
Despite the lack of kids our class was a huge success! We loved our experience at Google and we are so excited that they are committed to giving their employees such great opportunities to learn about health. We hope that they inspire other employers to do the same!
~Lacey (The new intern)