Food Labels Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students how to read food labels with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson that explains how to read food labels, working alongside guided instruction to read their own label, before they apply learning to an analytical project.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify components of a food label
  • accurately read a food label
  • explain the purpose and importance of reading food labels


1 - 1.5 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Food label
  • Calories
  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.


  • Collect food labels to use with this lesson, making sure to have a strong sample for each student (one that includes a lot of information) as well as a weak one (that lacks information). For example, a strong sample may be from a label of nutritious cereal and a weak sample might be from a candy bar.


  • Give each student a strong and weak food label sample.
  • Ask them to read the two labels and compare/contrast.
    • What do you notice about the labels?
    • How are they the same?
    • How are they different?
  • Have students label a page in their notebooks 'Reading Food Labels.' Ask them to cut out each of the food labels and glue them to the page. Make sure they also record the types of foods they are examining.

Direct Instruction

  • Now distribute the lesson Reading Food Labels: Lesson for Kids and read the first section, 'Making Healthy Choices,' with students and discuss:
    • Do you and your family read food labels when shopping?
    • Why can reading labels when shopping help us stay healthy?
  • Next read the section 'Serving Size and Calories' with students.
  • Help students locate this information on their labels, including fat, carbohydrates, and proteins.
  • Read through the remaining sections, helping students locate information and discussing:
    • Why is it important to include serving sizes?
    • What is the difference between micronutrients and macronutrients?
    • What does 'percentage daily value' mean?
    • How are ingredients listed on food labels?
  • Instruct students to now compare and contrast the two food labels in their notebooks, noting which has more sugar, micro and macro nutrients, calories, etc.
    • Which is more healthy?
    • Which is a better choice? Why?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' together and take the quiz.

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