Adult Ed
Nutrition and Food: Taking Control of What You Eat


Activity One: Setting the Stage
Activity Two: Creating Questions
Activity Three: Answering the Questions
Activity Four: Favorite Foods
Activity Five: What Do We Eat?
Activity Six: Culminating Activity

Activity One: Setting the Stage

Step 1A few weeks before you start these activities, bring in a few examples of food labels: a cereal box, a label off a can, a candy bar wrapper, a box of cookies, etc. Ask students to bring in labels of the foods they eat. Remind students to keep bringing in food labels. You can discuss them briefly as they are brought in:
“What is this food?”
“Does anyone else eat this?”
“What do you know about this food?”
Collect all the labels and put them in a big box. They will be used in the Culminating Activity section of this unit.

Step 2 What do we already know?
Break the class into small groups or pairs, and have them answer the following questions:
What do we know about food?
What do we know about nutrition?
What do we know about eating healthy?
What questions do we have about food, nutrition, and healthy eating?
Have each group or pair give a short presentation summarizing what they know about the subject and what they would like to learn.
Make a big list using the questions from all the groups. Refer to them every so often as you go through the activities.

Activity Two: Creating Questions

If your class has access to the Internet, go to these sites to see some questions about nutrition. If your class doesn’t have Internet access, but you have access, you can print from these sites to get some examples of nutrition questions and answers:
Ask the Dietician, from “alcohol” to “zinc”,10707,165823,00.html

Nutrition essentials’ including quizzes and “ask the nutritionist.”

Step 1 Devote 15-20 minutes to silent reading of the questions and answers on the Web Sites or the Web page printouts. (If you have a class of real beginning readers, you can read to them)

Step 2Break the class into groups and have them discuss what they have read. Ask each student to report on a Q & A that they found interesting, surprising, or hard to believe.

Step 3Ask each group to come up with a list of at least four questions they have about nutrition, food, or diet.

Step 4 Have each group read their questions to the whole group. Write the questions down on a blackboard or flip chart.

Activity Three: Answering the Questions

Step 1Break up students into new groups or pairs (not the same groups they were just in).

Step 2 Have each group pick three questions from the list above to answer. Have students copy the questions on big index cards. (It’s okay if two groups want to answer some of the same questions.)

Step 3Have students use the Internet and print materials to find the answers. Ask them to write answers on the backs of the cards.

Step 4Read all the questions and answers to the whole group

Step 5Ask the class to do a reflective writing about what they learned from this activity.

Use the index cards to create a game where students are quizzed on the Questions and Answers they have researched.

Activity Four: Favorite Foods

Step 1 Ask students to write answers to the following questions:

What is your favorite food?
How often do you eat your favorite food?
Where do you eat it?
How is your favorite food prepared?
Why is this your favorite food?

Step 2Break up the class into pairs or groups and discuss the answers.

Step 3Bring the class back together as a whole group. Have students share what their favorite foods are.

Step 4Write a short group composition that tells what the classes favorite foods are and why they like those foods.

Activity Five: What Do We Eat?

Step 1 Ask students to write answers to the following questions:

What did you eat yesterday?
What foods were healthy?
What foods were not healthy?

Step 2Before you review the food guide pyramid, talk about the difference between a “rule”, a “suggestion,” and a “guide.” Ask students what they think the words mean. Then check the definitions in the dictionary.

Step 3Review the food guide pyramid
the USDA food guide pyramid

Step 4 Discuss what foods the pyramid suggests. What does the pyramid say you should eat lots of? What does it say you should eat a little of?

Activity Six: Culminating Activity

Step 1 Start with a whole group discussion. Ask the class the following questions. Write their responses on the blackboard:
What do you know about food labels?
What do you not know?
What’s important to look at?
What words to you know?
What do you not know?
Review what you wrote on the board after all the questions are answered.

Step 2Break into small groups or pairs.

Step 3 Pass the big box of food labels around from group to group. Have each group pick out three labels.

Step 4 Ask the groups to answer the following questions for each food label:

How big is a serving?
How many servings are in the container?
What are the first three ingredients of this food?
Are the ingredients “natural” or “artificial”?
What are the good points about this food?
What are the bad points?

Step 5 Ask each group to report on their findings

Other activities with Food Labels are available in the Unit on Using Real Life Materials:

Culminating Writing Activity:
Ask students to write a long piece about food, nutrition, or diet
Possible “cues” include:
What I learned about food
What I eat and why
What I eat and what I want to change
Good food and bad food: what’s the difference?


Here are a few other ideas that can combine writing, collages, drawing, and photography. Use pictures, descriptions, memories, and opinions to create the following:

A class cookbook.
Displays or “our favorite foods.”
A “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” eating display.