School Food: What Did You Have For Lunch? Katie Ross

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1 School Food: What Did You Have For Lunch? Katie Ross INTRODUCTION This lesson will inform students about the food pyramid and how to use it to ensure healthy eating habits. It will explore the food served in most cafeterias and educate students on how to choose the healthier foods at their school. Students will learn about the portions of food groups they should be eating on daily basis as well. LESSON OVERVIEW Grade Level & Subject: Grades 5-8: Health and Science. Length: One minutes class period. Objectives: After completing this lesson, students will be able to: Understand the Food Pyramid and daily nutrition needed Understand the benefits of healthy eating and better choices National Standards Addressed: This lesson addresses the following National Education Standards 1 Content Standard: NPH-H REDUCING HEALTH RISKS As a result of activities in grades K-8, all students should Explain the importance of assuming responsibility for personal health behaviors. Analyze a personal health assessment to determine health strengths and risks. Distinguish between safe and risky or harmful behaviors in relationships. Demonstrate strategies to improve or maintain personal and family health. Develop injury prevention and management strategies for personal and family health. Demonstrate ways to avoid and reduce threatening situations. Demonstrate strategies to manage stress. Content Standard: NPH-H SETTING GOALS FOR GOOD HEALTH As a result of activities in grades K-8, all students should Demonstrate the ability to apply a decision- making process to health issues and problems individually and collaboratively. 1

2 Analyze how health-related decisions are influenced by individuals, family, and community values. Predict how decisions regarding health behaviors have consequences for self and others. Apply strategies and skills needed to attain personal health goals. Describe how personal health goals are influenced by changing information, abilities, priorities, and responsibilities. Develop a plan that addresses personal strengths, needs, and health risks. Content Standard: NS PERSONAL AND SOCIAL PERSPECTIVES As a result of activities in grades K-8, all students should develop understanding Personal health Populations, resources, and environments Natural hazards Risks and benefits Science and technology in society Materials Needed: Copies or projection of Reproducible #1: USDA Food Pyramid (also found here: Copies of Reproducible #2: Kids Heath Food Pyramid Article (also found here: Copies of Reproducible #3: Response Questions to Kids Health Article Copies of Reproducible #4: Sample Lunch Worksheet Copies of Reproducible #5: Lunch Worksheet Copies of your school s lunch menu (or you may use a sample found here: Extension: Copies of Reproducible #6: Food Pyramid Worksheet (also found here: - optional Assessment: Students will be assessed through the following activities: Completion of Reproducible #3: Response Questions to Kids Health Article Completion of Reproducible #5: Lunch Worksheet Responses to Instructor s Questions Participation in Wrap Up Discussion LESSON BACKGROUND Relevant Vocabulary: Calorie: (noun) a quantity of food capable of producing such an amount of energy. Food Pyramid: (noun) a diagram that represents a healthy diet by placing food groups in a pyramid according to the number of servings from each group to be eaten every day. Serving Size: (noun) a standardized amount used in comparing similar foods, loosely based on the

3 amount of a product normally eaten in one sitting. Information: Children s lunches have never been the epitome of health. Due to the combination of lack of funds, lack of fresh food availability and children s limited tastes, what used to be a healthy and fulfilling lunch has become a lunch of preservatives, saturated fats, carbohydrates and unhealthy calories. Only 58% of schools serve fresh fruits and vegetables every day. 2 Due to these factors, children in the United States have numerous health issues that were formerly only found in adults such as obesity, high blood pressure, and Type Two Diabetes. Oftentimes, public school lunches do not offer the quality of food that children need, and consequently do not teach children what a proper balanced meal looks like. Students begin to confuse fried potatoes as their healthy vegetable, ice cream as their dairy, and apple pie as their fruit. It is important to explain to students that, although these foods do have some nutritional value, they should not comprise the entire serving of each food group. We all know children cannot be forced to eat their vegetables at school, especially when there are much tastier-looking options. One of the ways to help children eat healthier meals is to teach them what a properly balanced meal looks like using the food pyramid. Understanding how the food pyramid works is an invaluable skill, which will not only help kids chose what to eat at school, but also help them lead a longer healthier life. Students will start to recognize how eating better makes them feel better and will continue to look for the healthier options available in the cafeteria. Resources: LESSON STEPS Warm-up: What Are Healthy Foods? 1. Ask the students what types of foods are healthy. a. Are French Fries healthy? Why or why not? i. Potatoes are healthy, but when they are fried they become fattening. b. Are apples healthy? Why or why not? c. What about Pizza? i. Tricky Question- explain that it can be made healthier by using certain ingredients, like making the dough out of whole wheat, making the cheese with 2% fat (just like 2% milk) and using fresh tomato sauce that doesn t have extra stuff in it to make it last longer in the jar at the grocery store. a) Ask the students what they had to eat yesterday and if they thought they ate well. i. Lead the students to wondering how they can tell whether or not the food they eat is healthy. Activity One: What is a Food Pyramid? 2 United States Department of Agriculture (200). School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study-III Summary of Findings. Accessed July 10, 2007 from

4 1. Put Reproducible #1 USDA Food Pyramid on the overhead projector, or pass out a copy to each student or table. 2. Explain to your students that the government was having a tough time deciding how they could distinguish healthy food from non-healthy food too, so they made a food pyramid. The food pyramid is a diagram that represents a healthy diet by placing food groups in a pyramid according to the number of servings from each group to be eaten every day. Each section is color coded for the food group they represent: orange for grains, green for vegetables, red for fruits, blue for dairy, and purple for proteins like meat and beans. 3. Show that certain sections are bigger than others, and explain that it is because one needs more of certain groups per day than others. Show how green (vegetables) is larger than the purple (meat and beans) section, and explain that it means you need more servings of vegetables than meat per day. 4. Explain that the amount of food you should eat per day per category is called a serving size. To better illustrate to your students what a proper serving is explain that 1 slice of bread is an ounce, which is the measurement by which grains are counted. For girls 9-13, eating 5 slices of bread would be their daily portion of grains, and for boys 9-13, eating 6 slices of bread would equal their daily portion of grain. Boys typically need more energy per day, therefore need more servings. Vegetables are measured in cups. If you are eating baby carrots, usually about are in one cup, therefore girls need about two cups (24-26 baby carrots) a day and boys need two and a half (30-32 baby carrots) a day. 5. Have students read Reproducible #2 - Kids Heath Food Pyramid Article (from the USDA website) and explain that the article has more information about the food pyramid as well as the rest of the suggested serving sizes per day. Each student should answer the follow-up questions provided on Reproducible #3 - Response Questions to Kids Health Article. Activity Two: Does Your Lunch Make the Cut? 1. Ask your students questions about what they normally have for lunch, and if they think that they are eating the right foods. Explain that schools provide at least one, and most of the time, two meals a day. Most of these meals include at least some healthier options for students to choose. 2. Explain that most times, schools do not want to waste food, so they tend to serve more of the unhealthy food because that is often times the most popular food with the students. 3. Hand out the Reproducible #4 and 5. If you have your school s lunch menu, hand this out now. Otherwise, use an example found here: 4. Ask the students to choose a meal they have eaten (or would normally eat) from the school s menu and put each part of the meal on the list under the section of the pyramid to which they think it belongs. Tell them to use a pencil.

5 5. Once they have done this, have them look at their meal and see if it is balanced? Do they think they could have eaten healthier had they chosen different things? 6. Allow the students to redo their chart, erasing bad choices and picking healthier items to make their lunch more balanced. Activity Three: Healthier Living 1. Have the students brainstorm ways to eat healthier (i.e. bringing lunch from home, choosing the healthier options, trying to eat more fruit / vegetables) and explain why that s healthier. Ex: Eating more fruits and vegetables is healthier because they are rich in nutrients that help you grow and stay healthy. They are also a good option to eat when you want a snack, instead of eating an unhealthy snack like chips or candy. 2. Ask the students what they should do if they didn t get their full serving of fruit at school? Suggest that they tell their parents to have at home more of the food that they typically don t get a much of at school so they can get their daily requirements. 3. Ask the students if they think the food that s served in the dining hall is healthy. How could it be healthier? Steer them towards having fresher foods and not so much of the processed food choices such as pizza or hot dogs. Consider getting fresh food from local farms, healthier options like pizza with whole wheat crusts, or grilled chicken instead of chicken fingers. Wrap Up: Healthy Eating Discussion 1. Ask students if they remember what the food pyramid is for, and to name the different sections of the pyramid. Which sections are the biggest, and which are the smallest? Why are the sections narrower or wider? 2. Ask why we need a certain amount of servings per day and which food groups are better than others. Get the students to talk about healthier options for vegetables, i.e. broccoli instead of potatoes, whole grain/whole wheat instead of white bread. 3. Encourage your students to use their new understanding of what foods are better for them to pick out healthier daily meals. Extension: Eating Right Challenge! 1. Give students the food pyramid worksheet (Reproducible # 6) from the USDA and tell them they can use this to help keep track of their healthy eating. Explain that eating sweets and junk food are sometimes ok, but only in small quantities. Ask the students to fill out the sheets for a week and see how they do! Also see if any of them feel healthier. 2. Based on your class discussion about food in your school s cafeteria, have your students consider other options (i.e. local food, organic food, fresh food, etc.) and do research to see if any of these options could be available to your school. Write letters or petitions to the principal, district administrators or school board asking them to bring these options to your school!

6 CONCLUSION In this lesson, students learned what the food pyramid is and how it works. Students applied this knowledge to deciding their everyday lunchtime meals and making healthier choices. The lesson is intended to encourage students to take responsibility for what they eat, and explain the benefits of making good choices. Through these activities, students have learned the importance of eating right, and how to do so on a daily basis.

7 Food Pyramid

8 Food Pyramid Article From: kidsheatlh.org, reviewed by Mary L. Gavin, MD, February The Food Guide Pyramid is one way for people to understand how to eat healthily. Colored vertical stripes represent the five food groups, plus fats and oils. Here's what the colors stand for: orange grains green vegetables red fruits yellow fats and oils blue milk and dairy products purple meat, beans, fish, and nuts The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) changed to this pyramid in 2005 because they wanted to do a better job of telling Americans how to be healthy. The agency later released a special version for kids. Notice the girl climbing the staircase up the side of the pyramid? That's a way of showing kids how important it is to exercise and be active every day. In other words, play a lot! The steps are also a way of saying that you can make changes little by little to be healthier. One step at a time - get it? The Pyramid Speaks Let's look at some of the other messages this new symbol is trying to send: Eat a variety of foods. A balanced diet is one that includes all the food groups. In other words, have foods from every color, every day. Eat less of some foods, and more of others. You can see that the bands for meat and protein (purple) and oils (yellow) are skinnier than the others. That's because you need less of those kinds of foods than you do of fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy foods. You also can see the bands start out wider and get thinner as they approach the top. That's designed to show you that not all foods are created equal, even within a healthy food group like fruit. For instance, apple pie would be in that thin part of the fruit band because it has a lot of added sugar and fat. A whole apple crunch! would be down in the wide part because you can eat more of those within a healthy diet. How Much Do I Need to Eat? Everyone wants to know how much they should eat to stay healthy. It's a tricky question, though. It depends on your age, your genes, and how active you are. Kids who are more active burn more calories, so they need more calories. A calorie is a quantity of food capable of producing a certain amount of energy. But we can give you some estimates for how much you need of each food group. Grains

9 Grains are measured out in ounce equivalents. What the heck are those? Ounce equivalents are just another way of showing a serving size. Here are ounce equivalents for common grain foods. An ounce equivalent equals: 1 slice of bread ½ cup of cooked cereal, like oatmeal ½ cup of rice or pasta 1 cup of cold cereal * 4- to 8-year-olds need 4 5 ounce equivalents each day. * 9- to 13-year-old girls need 5 ounce equivalents each day. * 9- to 13-year-old boys need 6 ounce equivalents each day. And one last thing about grains: Try to make at least half of your grain servings whole grains, such as 100% whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. Vegetables Of course, you need your vegetables, especially those dark green and orange ones, like cucumbers, broccoli and carrots. But how much is enough? Vegetable servings are measured in cups. If you are eating baby carrots, are usually in one cup. * 4- to 8-year-olds need 1½ cups of veggies each day. * 9- to 13-year-old girls need 2 cups of veggies each day. * 9- to 13-year-old boys need 2½ cups of veggies each day. Fruits Sweet, juicy fruit is definitely part of a healthy diet. Fruit is typically healthier if it is fresh from the tree, not like canned peaches which have added sugar. Here's how much you need: * 4- to 8-year-olds need 1 1½ cups of fruit each day. * 9- to 13-year-olds need 1½ cups of fruit each day. One large apple or two bananas are both equal to one cup of fruit. Milk and Other Calcium-Rich Foods Calcium builds strong bones to last a lifetime, so you need these foods in your diet. It also helps build strong, healthy teeth, for chomping on tasty food. * 4- to 8-year-olds need 2 cups of milk (or another calcium-rich food) each day. * 9- to 13-year-olds need 3 cups of milk (or another calcium-rich food) each day.

10 If you want something other than milk, you can substitute yogurt, cheese, or calcium-fortified orange juice or soymilk just to name a few. Meats, Beans, Fish, and Nuts These foods contain iron and lots of other important nutrients. The body needs iron to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Your entire body needs oxygen to stay healthy and alive. Iron helps because it's important in the formation of hemoglobin (say: hee-muh-glo-bun), which is the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Like grains, these foods are measured in ounce equivalents. An ounce equivalent of this group would be: 1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish ¼ cup cooked dry beans 1 egg 1 tablespoon of peanut butter ½ ounce (about a small handful) of nuts or seeds * 4- to 8-year-olds need 3 4 ounce equivalents each day. * 9- to 13-year-olds need 5 ounce equivalents each day. Whoa! That's a lot to swallow. The good news is that your mom, dad, and the other grown-ups in your life will help you eat what you need to stay healthy. There's more good news you don't have to become a perfect eater overnight. Just remember those stairs climbing up the side of the new pyramid and take it one step at a time.

11 Follow Up Questions for Food Pyramid Article: 1. What is the food pyramid? 2. Which foods do you need more of and why? 3. What is a calorie and why do you need them? 4. How many servings of fruits do you need per day and what would you have to eat in order to fulfill your daily fruit requirement? 5. What is calcium and why is it so important? 6. What is iron and why do you need it? 7. If you don t eat meat, what can you eat instead from the purple sections of the food pyramid? How much would you have to eat?

12 Sample Lunch Worksheet Thursday, February 5 Option #1 -Cheeseburger Mac -Peas -Hot Roll -Mozzarella Sticks Option #2 (healthier) -Cheeseburger Mac -Peas -Tossed Salad/Low fat Dressing -Fruit Cocktail Grains Vegetables Fruits Milk Meat & Beans Bun (Hamburger) Peas Mozzarella Sticks Hamburger Hot Roll Cheese Bun (Hamburger) Peas Fruit Cocktail Cheese Hamburger Tossed Salad

13 Lunch Worksheet Grains Vegetables Fruits Milk Meat & Beans

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