Grade 2
Food for Thought

A Sample Unit on Nutrition

Lesson Plans | Additional Internet Resources

Unit Introduction : Nutrition

Healthy eating is essential for growth and development during childhood. In the short term, what we eat can influence our behaviour, our level of energy and our attention span. In the longer term, diet plays a role in preventing or controlling illness. It is important that students understand at an early age the concept of a balanced diet, adapted to their needs. It is equally important that they practise making healthy choices when it comes to nutrition, in order to maintain or improve their health. These good eating habits will have a lifelong positive impact on their well-being.

Eating in small quantities, but more frequently than three times a day, gives young children the energy they need for the early school years. This is why the framework of topics in this curriculum suggests that grade 1 students learn to choose nutritious snacks. In this grade 2 unit, the students consider links between eating habits and physical, mental and intellectual well-being. Grade 3 students learn to read labels on food products, which relates to the importance of gathering facts and resisting the influence of advertising and the media when it comes to food choices. Grade 4 students are at the pre-adolescent stage. It is a good time to look at issues related to self-esteem in order to help them apply decisions regarding proper diet. Students at this grade level should learn to accept that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and should learn about the concept of healthy weight. They need to practise resisting the temptation of going on diets that endanger their health just to conform to the unrealistic images of an ideal body they sometimes see portrayed in the media, advertising and even in toys. Activities relating to nutrition in grade 5 prepare students to adapt their eating habits to their bodies' changing needs as they approach adolescence.

Grade Level Perspective

"Discovering Patterns of Wellness" is the grade 2 wellness perspective. Within this unit, the students look at links between eating habits and physical, mental and intellectual well-being. The three-level Decision-making Process is used with that perspective in mind.

Gathering Resources

Many of the activities in this unit are based on Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Before using this unit, teachers might want to order a copy of Food Guide Facts: Background for Educators and Communicators, as well as a copy of Using the Food Guide (which includes a pull-out copy of the Food Guide) for each student. These publications should be available from local health districts. The catalogue number of Using the Food Guide is H39-253/1992E and the ISBN number is 0-662-19649-X.

Nutrition workshops are offered in conjunction with the Dairy Foundation. Instructional materials are distributed at these workshops. Teachers are advised to contact the nutritionist at their local health district to check dates of workshops in their area.

Various stories dealing with food likes and dislikes, as well as non-fiction resources on nutrition should be used throughout this unit. Specific titles of resources are suggested in the activities only as examples. These and other appropriate titles are listed in Health Education: An Initial List of Implementation Materials for the Elementary Level, 1998. Additional instructional materials to support this curriculum will be listed in Health Education: A Bibliography for the Elementary Level, scheduled to be published in the spring of 1999.

Teachers are encouraged to investigate possibilities for using resources suggested in other lists of materials, such as the bibliographies accompanying the curriculum guides for all other areas of study.

In addition to the school's resource centre and the public library, teachers might check the following sources for instructional materials:

  • children's magazines
  • Internet sites
  • television and radio programming
  • brochures

It is also important to access local human resources such as health professionals, parents, or Elders. In this unit, presentations might be made by the nutritionist from the local health district. As in all subject areas, care is required when arranging for guest speakers and classroom presenters. It is the responsibility of teachers to clarify with the speaker the content and objectives of the presentation.

Unit Overview

It is assumed in this unit that students are already familiar with the Decision-making Process at this point. The purpose of the grade two perspective, Discovering Wellness Patterns, is to help students become increasingly independent in using the steps within Level B of the Decision-making Process. In grade two, the steps within Levels A and C guide instructional planning but are not formally taught.




Level A



  • Reading activity: Gregory, the Terrible Eater.
  • Food preferences graphs.
  • Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating: the four groups in the "food rainbow."
  • Categorizing foods into the four food groups.
  • "No time for breakfast!". Case study; role play; reflection (journal).
  • "Good for you"! A balanced diet.
  • What is a serving?
  • Activities for further practice: planning balanced meals.

Level B

3.Look at options and consequences

4.Choose an option

  • "How are we doing?" Students take a look at their eating habits.
  • As the students make food choices, they look at options and consequences.

Level C

5.Design and carry out an action plan

6.Examine the results. Revise as needed.

  • Action plans for healthy eating.
  • Reflection on progress and adaptation of plans.

Additional Internet Resources:


Taken from: Health Education: A Curriculum Guide for the Elementary Level (Grades 1-5): Sample Grade 2 Unit


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