Nutrition for Athletes Lesson Plan

Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Good nutrition is important for everyone, especially those that depend on their bodies like athletes. Your students will have fun learning the nutritional requirements for athletes as they read and discuss a text lesson, create a diet plan, create a phone app, and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'nutrition'
  • describe how nutrition needs differ for athletes
  • design a diet plan for athletes


1.5 - 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.



  • Begin the lesson by asking your students how many of them plan their diets and keep track of what they eat on a daily basis.
    • If any do, then ask them to tell the class how they plan their meals and track what they ate. Inform your students that it is important for some people to plan what they eat and keep track of it in order to remain successful in their careers.
  • Tell them they are going to learn about the nutritional needs of athletes as they read the Nutrition for Athletes: Needs & Guidelines text lesson. Pass out the text lesson.
  • Select students to read a paragraph aloud from the introduction, the 'What is different for athletes?,' and the 'Energy' sections of the text lesson. Ask and discuss the following:
    • What do athletes need more of in their diets?
    • What does nutritional guidelines for athletes mean?
    • What are energy needs?
    • Where do we get energy from?
  • Continue reading through the 'Calories' section, again asking for volunteers to read aloud. Ask and discuss the following:
    • What is a calorie?
    • How many calories does the average adult female need?
    • How many calories does the average adult male need?
    • How many calories does the average athlete need?
    • What percentage of calories should come from carbohydrates?
    • How does the percentage amount differ between average adults and athletes?
  • Ask for volunteers to continue reading the lesson, completing the 'Protein' section. Ask and discuss the following:
    • Which type of food is a direct source of energy?
    • What types of food are carbohydrates?
    • What foods contain healthy fats?
    • Why is protein important to the body?
    • What are good sources of protein?
    • How many grams of protein does a healthy adult need?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' to your students and discuss any questions they have about the lesson.
  • Project a diet plan on the board and go through it together as a class. Discuss how the diet plan meets the nutritional guidelines for athletes.

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