Food for Thought
A Sample Unit on Nutrition
| 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.
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
- children's magazines
- Internet sites
- television and radio programming
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.
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.
- 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;
- "Good for you"! A balanced diet.
- What is a serving?
- Activities for further practice: planning balanced
3.Look at options and consequences
4.Choose an option
- "How are we doing?" Students take a look at their
- As the students make food choices, they look at
options and consequences.
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:
from: Health Education: A Curriculum Guide for the Elementary
Level (Grades 1-5): Sample Grade 2 Unit