Lesson #3: Fresh Food Nutrition
Last week, students learned about the importance of macronutrients in soil for healthy plant growth. This week, they’ll expand on that knowledge by discussing the dietary benefits of fruits and vegetables. Students will learn to read a nutritional label and compare processed foods to fresh fruits and vegetables. They will then review the basics of a healthy diet and learn that a diet of diversified fruits and vegetables gives them a wide variety of nutrients they need to be strong and healthy. Preparation of a rainbow salad, containing fruits and vegetables that represent all the colors of the rainbow, will then give students the opportunity to discover what a diversified diet of fresh fruits and vegetables tastes like.
Eating a variety of naturally colored food helps your body stay healthy.
SWBAT analyze nutritional labels for important information.
3 (B) evaluate the accuracy of the information related to promotional materials for products and services such as nutritional labels;
- Paper (can use scrap paper for brainstorm)
- Nutrition Label Comparison sheet, 1 per student
- Eat the Rainbow, 1 per student
- Vegetable Nutrition Facts, 1 per student
- Knives, 1 per student
- Bowls, 1 per student
- Cutting boards, 1 per student
- Color variety of vegetables
- Salad dressing
Prep (50 minutes total):
Print Nutrition Label Comparison sheet (1 per student) – page 1 only
Print Eat the Rainbow (1 per student)
Print Vegetable Nutrition Facts (1 per student)
Timeline (1 hour total):
10 min Introduction: Fruit and Vegetable Brainstorm
10 min Nutrition Label Comparison
10 min Vegetable Nutrition Facts
10 min Eat the Rainbow
10 min Make It – Rainbow Salad
5 min Taste It – Rainbow Salad
5 min Clean-up
- Introduction: Fruit and Vegetable Brainstorm. Ask students – Why is it important to eat vegetables and fruits? (They are loaded with vitamins and minerals to help your body grow effectively and keep it healthy. They also have fiber which keeps food moving through the digestive tract.) How many servings do you need per day? (2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables). Have students brainstorm and write down as many fruits and vegetables as they can in three minutes. After the time is up, have them:
- Circle fruits and vegetables they’ve never tried.
- Put a rectangle around the fruits and vegetables they don’t like.
- Put a star next to the fruits and vegetables they like.
Discuss with the students the range of their answers and stress how important it is to try new foods and to have an open mind when it comes to foods that are new.
- Nutrition Label Comparison – Share with the students that all processed food must have information about the nutrients inside the food, called a nutrition label. Distribute the Nutritional Label Comparison worksheets and share with the students the four potato items that are shown on the labels. Discuss what the items on the nutrition label are – calories, fat, cholesterol, etc.Have them complete the information and questions on the sheet, comparing various nutrients. Discuss together as a class the last question about which item is the healthiest. Discuss why serving sizes can be tricky – there can be multiple serving sizes in one container.
- Vegetable Nutrition Facts – Share that unlike packaged goods, vegetables don’t come with nutrition labels. Distribute the vegetable nutrition facts to the students. Explain that the vegetables are in the first column and you can scan the other columns to find nutritional information. This lets you compare all the different vegetables’ nutrient information. Then let the students look at the sheet for a moment. Ask the students what surprised them? You can have them look at individual columns, such as fat. Is it surprising that some vegetables have fat? That some have protein? What vegetable is the highest in protein? Which vegetable has a surprisingly large amount of iron? Use the students’ observations to guide the conversation.
- Eat the Rainbow – Share with the students that to have a healthy diet, it’s important to eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs to get different nutrients. Vegetables of the same color often share the same nutrients. Have students volunteer to read the sections about each color group and see if they can think of vegetables and fruits that aren’t on the lists.
- Make It – Rainbow salad. Choose a variety of seasonal produce to have students cut and mix together to make a salad. Review knife safety from last week. Have students each get their own sample of vegetables and cut their own salad. Students are welcome to sample as they cut. There should be at least one item from each of the following color groups (suggestions below):
- Red – bell peppers, beets, radishes
- Orange/Yellow – orange slices, lemon (in dressing), swiss chard ribs, carrots
- Green – celery, lettuce, peas, cabbage, spinach, kale
- Blue/purple – purple carrots, purple kohlrabi, cabbage, purple lettuce, red onion
- White – fennel, white radishes, onion
- Taste It – Rainbow salad. Distribute dressing and a fork to each student to let them mix their salad. Allow them to taste and talk about their experience. It’s okay if they don’t like the food, but encourage children to let others experience the food and form their own opinions before sharing with the class.
Clean-Up – Students will return the classroom to its previous state, including washing cutting boards and knives, and wiping down table