Most of the food that people in the U.S. eat today is obtained from the local grocery store in attractive convenient packaging. The attractive packaging can often mislead or confuse the consumer as to the true nutritive value of the contents found within. Students need to be aware of the nutritional value of the food products to make intelligent dietary choices for the rest of their lives. Be sure to check out Kidshealth.org for a thorough account of information on how to read a food label and how the nutrients are measured and listed.
Objectives: Students should be aware of all the nutritional information found on food labels, be familiar with the basic dietary needs of the human body, understand that food companies want their product to sell and package and label their product to attract the consumer know where and how to write a letter to a food company found on the label.
Materials: food labels brought in by students
Activities: 1) Each student should have several food labels. The students need to read thoroughly all information given on packaging; write down complete ingredients (these are sometimes surprising) and grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat per serving. 2) Using current health references (text, brochures, charts) review the six basic dietary requirements for maintaining a healthy body (carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, water) and look for these on the labels 3) Create a classroom list of packaging and labeling techniques meant to attract the consumer; classify these appeals into categories such as good taste, low cost, convenience, health, etc; under the health category determine which health factors are being considered (low in calories, no cholesterol, fiber, no additives).4) Emphasize the importance of analyzing food nutrition labels before purchasing the food in order to make healthy food choices which in turn will make us stronger physically and better learners!