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Reading Food Labels Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Simplify your instruction of food labels with a Study.com video and a fun hands-on activity. Supplementary activities and recommendations are included for deeper exploration of the topic.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • interpret a nutrition facts label
  • determine the percent daily value of foods
  • analyze nutrient content claims on labels

Length

1 to 1.5 hours

Materials

  • An assortment of nutrition facts labels (cut out from food item packaging)
  • An assortment of packaged food containers
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Tablets, computers, or a projector to access video lesson

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7: Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

Key Vocabulary

  • nutritional facts label
  • percent daily value
  • the 5/20 rule
  • nutrient content claims
  • health claims

Instructions

  • Display the assortment of packaged food containers in view of the students.
  • Place the cut-out food labels in a container or basket.
  • Show the first 1 minute of video: How to Read Food Labels: Understanding Claims & Components
  • Pass around the container of cut out food labels and have students select a food label from the assortment.
  • Ask students to determine if they have an old food label or a new food label.
  • Now ask students to follow along with their labels as you show the remainder of the video.
  • On a sheet of paper, have students list the nutrients that their foods contain, categorized by the amount of nutrient present.
  • Now ask students to apply the 5/20 rule to their food to determine if it would be a good choice to eat. They should also explain their determination using the percent daily values listed on the label (e.g. the food has 20% of the daily value of calcium, so it is a good choice).
  • Have students list the nutrient content claims and health claims that they can spot on the display of packaged foods.
  • Finally, have students work in small groups to construct a day's worth of food using their food labels, the 5/20 rule, and the percent daily values.

Extensions

  • Have students bring in packaged foods and use the food labels and percent daily values to create a day's worth of food. Donate the food items to a food pantry upon completion of the assignment.
  • Ask students to collect food labels and analyze the nutrient content from packaged foods they eat over the weekend.
  • Take a virtual class field trip to an online health food store. How many nutrient content claims can the class find? How about health claims?

Related Lessons

Making Healthy Nutritional Choices: Habits, Behaviors & Resources

Vegetarian & Vegan Diets: Health Benefits & Lifestyle Effects

Healthy Diet Planning Guidelines: Nutrients & Food Groups

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