Lesson Plans - Nutrition Activities
1. Using the nutritional label as an example, show students how to read and understand the information on a nutritional label.
2. Invite your school foodservice director to speak to the classroom about nutrition. The talk might include such topics as how the school menu is selected, which foods must be included every day, and which protein sources kids seem to like best on the school lunch menu. He or she may also explain the most current Dietary Guidelines for Americans including the following:
- Limit overall fat to 30% or less of caloric intake*
- Limit saturated fat to 10% or less of caloric intake*
- Reduce sodium and cholesterol consumption
- Increase fiber
- Comply with updated Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for key nutrients and calories
*Note that total fat and saturated fat limitations are base on an overall weekly average, not on individual menu items.
3. Divide the class into groups and ask them to brainstorm as many sources of protein as they can. The list might include:
- Nuts and seeds — all kinds, pecans, peanuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, peanut butter, etc.
- Beans and peas — garbanzos, kidney, lentils, etc.
- Cereals and grains — although these are a food group unto themselves, they contain significant amounts of protein.
- Meat — beef, pork, lamb, venison, etc.
- Poultry — chicken, turkey, duck, game hens, etc.
- Milk and dairy foods — although dairy products are a food group unto themselves, they contain significant amounts of protein.
- Fish and shellfish — tuna, salmon, trout, catfish, clams, lobster, crab, etc.
4. What makes up a good lunch? The purpose of this discussion is to lead children away from empty-calorie foods like sweets, salty snacks, and fast food. Mention that lunch is a good time to eat fruit, protein and vegetables and that whole-grain breads are more nutritious than refined wheat products. Ask the children to draw the lunch they ate today. Then ask them how they could make this lunch healthier and have them draw a picture of the new lunch.
5. Explore fish and nutrition on the Internet. Search under keywords such as nutrition, protein, Omega-3, Food Pyramid and other related terms. Some good sites to begin your search include: >> California Seafood Council >> National Fisheries Institute >> American Dietetic Association >> Clear Springs Foods (the world's largest producer of Rainbow Trout)