Nutrition Facts and the Ingredient List

Nutrition Facts and the Ingredient List

Students in Cardio/Health this week had the opportunity to analyze a Nutrition Facts label from a food item that they have eaten over the past week.  They pasted the label in their journals then diagrammed the following 6 parts:

  1. Serving Size – some students were shocked to find out there were 2 and a half servings of Sports Drink in their 20oz bottle.
  2. Calories and Calories from Fat – As a general framework we said that 40cal is low, 100cal is moderate and 400cal is high.
  3. Nutrients to Limit – This included total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  Most americans get plenty (and by plenty, I mean way too much) of these.
  4. Nutrients to Increase – This included fiber, vitamins A and C, Calcium and Iron.
  5. The Footnote –  This is the table at the bottom of most nutrition labels that explains that the percentages are based on a 2000 calorie per day diet.
  6. The Percent Daily Value – These are the percentages of the recommended daily value for most of the items (excluding trans fat, sugars and protein).  These are very helpful, as they give us a sense of how this food might compare to other food choices.

After diagramming and analyzing their Nutrition Facts Label, we then talked about the ingredient list.  I found an ingredient list activity on that I tried with my students and they seemed to really enjoy.  Here’s what I did:

I brought in three different food items and placed them in brown paper bags (numbered 1, 2, and 3).  Knowing only the ingredient list for each item, students had to decide which they would take with them if they were going to be stranded on a deserted island.  I had students vote for each item then guess what the items were.  There were cheers of victory as I revealed one item (jelly beans) and groans of disgust as I revealed another (canned cat food with gravy).  The third item was Non Dairy Creamer.  The few students who chose the creamer were simply excited that they’d get to have 45 servings of it.

Having students talk through (first with a neighbor, then with the class) the reasons for the choice they made served as a great informal assessment to see how well students were grasping the concept of the ingredient list.

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About Mr. Zerwas

Passionate about Family, Health, Fitness, Nutrition and Multimedia - Teaching Video and Broadcasting and Del Oro High School in Loomis, CA

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