Forest Gate teenagers to trial tasty, healthy chicken

The project is designed to give teenagers and young people a tasty, healthy alternative to fried chi

The project is designed to give teenagers and young people a tasty, healthy alternative to fried chicken Picture: Finn Taylor - Credit: Archant

A charity will be launching a pilot scheme that aims to wean teenagers away from greasy fried chicken with tasty, healthy food.

The project is called Box Chicken and it will serve delicious yet healthy food to young people in the area from September 23 until October 18. A van will be parked within easy reach of students from four nearby schools;St Angela’s Ursuline School, St. Bonaventure’s School, Stratford Academy and Forest Gate Community School. If it proves to be a success it could be rolled out across the capital.

Designed by street-food vendor Giles Smith, the Box Chicken menu will focus on chicken, but cooked in a much healthier way than its deep fried alternatives. Compared to a meal and a drink in a local chicken shop, a meal and a drink at Box Chicken will have a tenth of the saturated fat (1g compared to 10g), less than a fifth of the salt (0.6g compared to 3.1g), and fewer than half the calories (471 kcal compared to 1,165 kcal). It will include an extra 2.5 portions of fruit and vegetables.

What is more, a meal will cost just £2.50 for students and £3.50 for adults. Organisers hope the convenience, taste and value will tempt pupils away from the local fried chicken outlets.

The project was commissioned by arts organisation Create London which tasked not for profit behaviour company, We Are what We Do, to deliver it.

Nick Stanhope, CEO of We Are What We Do, a not for profit behaviour change company, said: “We’ve been working in Forest Gate for a long time, but when we started research on the role of fast food shops on the health of young people in the area, we still couldn’t believe how many there were and how big their impact was. Our project, which has come from local young people as much as it has from We Are What We Do and Create London, is about helping add real, meaningful choice in these areas – cheap, tasty, convenient, familiar food that people really want, rather than feel like they should want. If we show that this business can be popular, healthy and financially sustainable then we think we’ve got something that can grow and have an impact across London.”

Fidelma Boyd, Deputy Head, St Angela’s Ursuline School, in Forest Gate, said: “As both a school and a sixth form centre, we have for many years realised how vitally important diet is for the current generation of teenagers. We welcome the project and look forward to it being a powerful way of changing our students’ eating behaviour.”