Posted by: jerzeegirl | October 5, 2008

Teaching Children Nutrition

Hello All. JerzeeGirl back, this time asking for a little help…

I am a Special Education teacher…or, well, I will be in 2 months and 2 weeks. Right now, I am a Special Education Student Teacher, working in a 3rd grade classroom where my students are either on or slightly below grade level in Reading and Math.

As part of my student teaching experience, I have been responsible for all of the science lessons in my classroom. Our first unit was on the Human Body, and now we will be moving into a unit on Nutrition.

I am simultaneously very excited and quite nervous about teaching this unit. I want to ensure that my students get a good understand of nutrition, but I also need to follow the book. The book, in this case, being “Real Science.” Although I like their emphasis on the nutrients found in the different food groups, and the importance of eating a healthy diet, they are very fat-phobic. The most striking example of this is the activity they suggest for teaching children to read nutrition information. Instead of having the kids go through and find the content of many different nutrients, they have the students only check the fat content, and then determine which foods are healthiest. They completely ignore ALL other aspects of healthy eating in this activity. As a complete convert to the Hil way of living and eating, as well as a believer in “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy,” I have some issues with this.

So, my question boils down to this: how do I teach students the information in their books and on MyPyramid in a way that emphasizes well rounded eating?

My current unit plan looks like this:

Oct 7 – Lesson 1 – 30 min – The Food Groups (reading about MyPyramid, through the skit they offer, and then coloring a pyramid)
Oct 14 – Lesson 2 – 30 min – Nutrients in the food groups (Lesson from the book)
Oct 20 – Lesson 3 – 45 min – Finding Water in Fruits (Activity where we weight different fruits, they let them sit overnight)
Oct 21 – Lesson 4 – 30 min – Finding Water in Fruits (On day 2 we weight them again, then compare)
Oct 27 – Lesson 5 – 45 min – Reading Food Labels Activity (I plan to adapt this to look at many different aspects of the nutrition information, not just the fat content)
Oct 28 – Lesson 6 – 30 min – Balanced Diet Activity – Going through our lunches (Making sure we have all of the food groups/nutrients covered)

I would also love to add a lesson about foods common is many cultures, perhaps allowing students to bring in recipes or food they eat at home. This would be my lesson for another week, if I am allowed to continue this unit into November.

Does anyone have an suggestions about how to approach teaching nutrition to children? Any suggestions for activities or tactics would be greatly appreciated!

❤ JerzeeGirl



  1. Definitely have fun, engaging activities, like a word search, visuals, games, etc. – anything to get the kids playing while learning!!

  2. I am student teaching, too! It’s crazy isn’t it.

    I think the content seems good. Definitely adapt the nutrition label lesson to suit your goals. I think it’s important, like you said, to not just focus on fat. The book is probably old and you probably know more anyway.

    With the recipes, you could have them bring them in and discuss how they reflect their family or culture. Maybe you could then have them rewrite the recipe using healthier ingredients they learned about.

    I also think you could play a fun “fact” or “fiction” game to dispel some nutrition myths.

    I did a presentation on nutrition programs in schools that focused on the program in Rhode Island. Here is the website I used as a starting point:
    It has a lot of resources for project and lesson ideas!

    Good luck.


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