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This is the first module of the Healthy Eating and Active LifeStyles toolkit. During this module, students will learn the basic skills to make healthy food choices. This module, based on the Health Belief Model (Glanz, Lewis & Rimmer, 2002), is designed to:
  1. Help students evaluate the risks associated with eating unhealthy foods
  2. Increase awareness of the benefits of healthy eating foods
  3. Decrease the barriers to healthy eating
  4. Increase students' confidence that they are capable to make healthy food choices

Learning Objectives

​Students will be able to:
  1. Discuss the function of calories, fat, and protein
  2. Describe how nutrition relates to health
  3. Compare menu items from restaurants to determine which item is healthier
  4. Demonstrate the ability to comparison shop when purchasing items for a recipe
  5. Read and evaluate a nutrition facts label
  6. Describe portion sizes and the associated calories


Computer with projector, chalk or dry erase board, internet access for students.

Optional: Survival Cooking requires a kitchen, food, and food preparation equipment.

Getting Ready

Before educating your students about healthy eating, you will need to:
  1. Read the instructor background information
  2. Review all components to the lesson. You may want to print out the PowerPoint presentations and review the information in the notes section
  3. Decide if you will use some or all discussion topics, classroom lessons, computer lab activities, worksheets and projects. Although it will be most effective if you teach all components, you may eliminate some if you face time constraints
  4. Go into the lesson ready to have interesting discussions and make nutrition fun

Instructor Background Information

According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education, adolescents possess significant knowledge regarding healthy foods. The authors of this study conducted focus groups. Through these focus groups, they found that most adolescents believe that healthy eating involves moderation, balance, and variety. Despite this knowledge, they frequently consume foods they perceive as unhealthy because of lack of time, limited availability of healthy foods, and a lack of concern (Croll, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, 2001).

Discussion Topics

Topics​ ​Time Required ​Description
​Diet and Health 15 minutes Have the students in class stand up. Ask all students who have a family member who has died of a heart attack or other heart disease or heart attack to sit down. Then ask students who has a family member who has ever had cancer to sit down. Then ask any student who has a family member with diabetes to sit down. (Most of the students should be seated.) Discuss that overweight and obesity along with poor nutritional choices can lead to all of these conditions. As applicable, you may share the following information:
  • Heart disease. People who are obese are more likely to die of heart disease than people who are not obese. Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol (mostly from animal products like meat) are linked to heart disease. Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, often through diet, is an effective way to lower risks of heart disease (CDC, Sept 11, 2008).
  • Cancer. Being overweight or obese can lead to uterine, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers (CDC, June 29, 2009).
  • Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, previously called adult-onset diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases. This type of diabetes is often caused by obesity. People with a family history of diabetes and people of African descent are at an even higher risk. Just by losing a little weight and increasing physical activity people can prevent diabetes. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2006. The risk for death among people with diabetes is about double that of people without diabetes when comparing people of similar ages (CDC, 2008).
What Does "Healthy Food" Mean?​ ​30 minutes We have many definitions of healthy food. Many food trends and diets have gained popularity in recent years including low carbohydrate diets, vegetarian diets, cleanses, and organic foods. With all of the information available, how can students decide what is healthy? In this discussion students will have the opportunity to discuss what healthy food means to them.
  1. Ask students to name some healthy foods. Write them on the board.
  2. Ask students if they agree that all of these foods are healthy. Find out which foods garner objection. Ask both sides to defend their position.
  3. Share with the students that a lot of contradictory information exists about what makes a food healthy. Some health organizations even provide different information.
  4. Share the following recommendations from the American Cancer Society (Mar 19, 2008). You can write them on the board or show them on a screen:
    1. Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight
    2. Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day
    3. Choose whole grains over processed (refined) grains
    4. Limit intake of processed foods
    5. Limit intake of red meats
    6. Direct students' attention back to the list. Ask if they want to change their mind about any of them.
    7. Ask if others have come to mind after seeing the recommendations.
    8. Ask them to brainstorm some unhealthy foods.
    9. You may have students complete Worksheet #5 based on this discussion.
This section ties in with the "Choosing Healthy Food in the Cafeteria" discussion and Worksheet: Healthy Choices.
Family, Health, and Food​ 30 minutes Family and environment affect students' food choices. Worksheet #2 provides some questions for discussion. You may want to have students complete the worksheet, and then have a class discussion about the questions. Prior to this worksheet and discussion, it will be helpful to have the above discussion around the concept of healthy food and to work through some of the computer lab activities. Ties in with Worksheet: Family and Food.

Classroom Lessons

​Time Required ​Description
​Nutrition Jeopardy ​
​30 minutes
"Let's Play Nutrition Jeopardy" was designed to help your students learn the basics about dietary fat, carbohydrates, protein, and making healthier choices. It is recommended that you print the presentation out and familiarize yourself with the correct answers prior to playing the game. In the notes section of the PowerPoint, you will find information about the correct answers to share with your students.

To play, you can break students into three teams or allow each student to play individually. Start by selecting the first dollar amount. Click on the dollar amount to reveal the question. The student who raises his or her hand first has the opportunity to answer the question. For every question a student or team answers correctly, they receive the corresponding number of points. For every question answered incorrectly, the student or team loses the corresponding number of points. Different students should have the opportunity to answer the question until a student gets the answer correct or no additional students volunteer to answer the question.

When a student provides a correct answer (or an answer you deem to be "close enough," click the question mark in the lower right hand corner of the screen to reveal all possible correct answers. After the answers are revealed and discussed, click the house icon to return to the game board. Dollar amounts that have already been chosen will change color. The student who answers the question correctly picks the next dollar amount. The team or individual with the most points after all questions are answered wins the game.
Choosing Healthy Food in the Cafeteria 15-30 minutes Invite your centers' food service manager to speak with the class about how the menu he or she develops supports healthy eating. He or she should explain which menu items are healthier choices. Ties in with the What Does "Healthy Food" Mean? discussion and Worksheet: Healthy Choices.
Survival Cooking​ ​4-20 hours Many Job Corps students will move into their own apartments after transition from the program. A "Survival Cooking" class can help students learn to prepare easy, healthy, and inexpensive meals when they are on their own. The food service or culinary arts departments can develop recipes or simple recipes can be printed from websites, such as The Food Network or Cooking Light. Other topics, such as strategies for grocery shopping on a budget and choosing ripe, in-season produce can be discussed.​

Computer Lab Activities

Activity​​ ​Time Required Description​
30 minutes This website offers two interactive activities on portion size and calories. You can go through the activities together with the class or allow students to work through them independently. 

Worksheets and Projects

​Worksheet Name ​Activity
Worksheet: How Can You Eat Healthy When You Eat Out? This worksheet helps students become informed consumers when eating at their favorite restaurants and fast food establishments. This worksheet consists of four pages: a menu activity, a reflection, resources to find nutrition information, and tips for making better nutritional choices. Through this activity, students will have the opportunity to explore fast food menus and compare calorie, fat, and fiber content of items. If students do not have access to computers during class, you can print nutrition information from various restaurants' websites.

Note: If you decide against using this worksheet, you may still want to give students the "Have It Your Way" information sheet to help them make better choices when eating out.
Worksheet: Family and Food The food we eat as children plays a big part in our food choices later in life. Some of your students probably grew up eating home cooked meals full of vegetables. Others probably ate at fast food restaurants or reheated convenience foods. This worksheet will help students explore their family's nutrition habits and the associated health benefits and draw backs. After students complete this worksheet they can discuss it in small groups or you can lead a class discussion. Ties in with the Family, Health, and Food discussion topic.
Worksheet: Navigating a Grocery Store After leaving Job Corps, many students will be responsible for shopping for and cooking their own food for the first time in their lives. It is important that we equip students with these skills. This worksheet is meant to be part of a fieldtrip. First, students will be asked to find a recipe. You can supply them with cookbooks or cooking magazines or they can search for a recipe online. This recipe should follow the guidelines set forth in the first step of the worksheet. Students will then use the worksheet to make a grocery list. As a class, you will visit a nearby grocery store and comparison shop for the items. After the trip to the grocery store, have students answer the questions on the Post Field Trip Reflection. Discuss as a class.

Optional: If you have the kitchen resources and budget, you may allow students to purchase their recipe items and prepare their meal.

Worksheet: MyPyramid Tracker In this activity, students will log in everything they ate or plan to eat today. They will then answer questions about their food intake.

Note: Students should do the MyPyramid Tracker computer lab activity prior to completing this worksheet.

Worksheet: Healthy Choices Gather copies of the cafeteria menu for the week and distribute to students. After you have the discussion on What Does "Healthy Food" Mean?, have students complete the worksheet. Students may do this in groups or alone.

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