When choosing food and drinks, current healthy eating guidelines should be followed.
The government’s healthy eating guidelines follow a pictorial guide known as the Eatwell Guide. The Eatwell Guide divides the food and drinks we consume into five main groups and also includes information on how much we should be drinking.
It is important for pupils to be able to use this guide for their own needs and for the needs of others. This can include using food labels to help make healthier choices, modifying recipes or using the guide to help to decide the proportions of each food group that should be consumed.
This area includes:
- To introduce and explain the concept of the Eatwell Guide, show the pupils the introductory Eatwell Guide video. Challenge the pupils to create a poster or information guide to explain the Eatwell Guide. Use the pupil’s work to create a classroom display.
- To investigate the key messages and the foods which are included in each group of the Eatwell Guide in more detail, show the pupils The Eatwell Guide presentation. Task the pupils to complete The Eatwell Guide worksheet.
- To consolidate learning, provide the pupils with a The Eatwell Guide blank worksheet and a set of The Eatwell Guide food cards. Working in pairs, ask the pupils to sort the cards and place them in the correct food group on the blank Eatwell Guide.
- Task the pupils to see how well they are meeting the healthy eating guidelines. Give them the My diet worksheet to complete. They can then analyse how well they met the guidelines over this period of time. What changes, if any, do they need to make to meet the guidelines?
- To establish the pupils understanding of the principles of the Eatwell Guide ask them to complete the Eatwell Guide circle map.
- Use the Eatwell Guide quiz as an interactive way to test pupil knowledge of the Eatwell Guide. The Eatwell Guide Kahoot Q&A will support this activity.
- To enable the pupils to apply their knowledge, ask them to plan and make a dish which would provide at least two portions of fruit and vegetables and use potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates
- Show the pupils the Making better choices with the Eatwell Guide podcast to further enhance their knowledge of the Eatwell Guide. Challenge the pupils to create their own short video or podcast which could be shared with the school community and parents/carers via your school website.
- Use the interactive Eatwell Guide game to test the pupil’s knowledge of the different food groups.
- Discuss portion sizes for fruit and vegetables – have some examples ready and ask the pupils to estimate how much of each food would be a portion. Weigh 30g of dried fruit. Compare this with the amount found in dried fruit snack bags or boxes. Ask the pupils why 30g of dried fruit counts as a maximum of one portion a day.
- Ask the pupils why one 150ml glass of fruit juice or smoothie counts as a portion per day. Challenge the pupils to pour the amount of juice that they would drink into a glass (this could be plain water or water coloured with food colouring). Then ask them to pour the liquid into a measuring jug and see how it compares with the 150ml glass recommendation.
- Challenge the pupils to apply their knowledge of the Eatwell Guide. Introduce the 8 tips for Healthy Eating by showing the 8 tips for healthy eating presentation and ask the pupils to complete the 8 tips for healthy eating worksheet.
- To develop and apply their knowledge of the main food groups the pupils can be challenged to undertake a series of activities:
- Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates:
- Show the pupils the short Eatwell Guide video to revisit the key points about this food group.
- Discuss the importance of wholegrain, higher fibre foods and how they can be included in a healthy, varied diet. Ask the pupils to work in pairs to plan the meals for a day for themselves, highlighting the main sources of fibre. Use a nutritional analysis programme such as Explore food to analyse the meals.
- Have printed or electronic copies of the Fantastic fibre! diet diary for each pupil. Ask them to complete the diary and to identify how they could make any changes, if needed, to increase their fibre intake.
- If time and facilities allow, ask the pupils to create a dish that includes a starchy carbohydrate as a main ingredient. This could be an opportunity to use some wholegrain ingredients that are less familiar to the pupils e.g. starchy vegetables, bulgur wheat, millet, sorghum, quinoa, cornmeal, oats, barley and rye.
- Fruit and vegetables:
- Two of the 8 tips for healthy eating are: Eats lots of fruit and vegetables and Don’t skip breakfast. Discuss with the pupils what counts as a portion of fruit and vegetables and how they can be included in the diet. You may wish to review the 5 A DAY message; show the pupils the 5 A DAY presentation and follow up with challenging the pupils to show they could include at least 1 portion of fruit and/or vegetables in their breakfast.
- Give out the Do you know your 5 A DAY? worksheet to the pupils working in small groups. Ask them to discuss and fill in the answers. Take feedback from each group and identify where any further explanation is needed.
- Breakfast is an important meal but is often not eaten for a variety of reasons. Discuss with the pupils why this might be the case.
- Challenge the pupils to investigate different ideas and recipes for breakfast that include starchy carbohydrates and at least one portion of fruit or vegetables.
- If time allows plan a lesson for the pupils to prepare and make a breakfast dish that includes fruit and/or vegetables.
- To test learning the pupils can undertake the 5 A DAY Kahoot quiz or the 5 A DAY Kahoot Q & A and the Have breakfast Kahoot quiz or the Have breakfast Q&A
- Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins:
- Show the pupils a variety of beans and pulses, discuss the benefits of eating them regularly, e.g. they are a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals and count towards your 5 A DAY.
- Use the Multi-cultural cooking with beans and pulses worksheet to research the use of beans and pulses around the world. If time allows, challenge the pupils to make one of the recipes they found during the research task.
- Discuss the safe use of beans and pulses with the pupils, ensuring they are aware that dried beans, but in particular kidney and soya beans, must be soaked for at least 12 hours, drained and washed and then boiled vigorously for 10 minutes and then simmered for 45-60 minutes to make them tender.
- Dairy and alternatives:
- Carry out a sensory evaluation activity using milk (whole, semi-skimmed, 1% fat, skimmed) and dairy alternatives. For information and resources about sensory evaluation, go to the Sensory evaluation area.
- Dairy alternatives are substitutes for people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. Discuss with the pupils the range of alternatives available and highlight the importance of drinking fortified and reduced sugar versions as recommended by the Eatwell Guide.
- The Eatwell Guide also recommends that lower fat versions of dairy products should be chosen. Challenge the pupils to consider lower fat varieties of cheese by using the Rank cheese in order of fat per 100g activity.
- Challenge the pupils to make a cheese sauce using standard grated cheese and another cheese sauce using a smaller amount of mature or extra strong grated cheese. Carry out a sensory evaluation of the two cheese sauces and also a nutritional analysis, using a nutritional analysis programme such as Explore food. Compare the flavour, texture and fat content of the two sauces.
- Recipe modification is an important skill for pupils to learn. Discuss the implications of changing ingredients, proportions and cooking methods. Provide electronic or printed copies of the Recipe modification worksheet. Ask the pupils to apply the principles of the Eatwell Guide and the 8 tips for healthy eating to complete the worksheet. If time allows, plan a practical lesson for the pupils to work in pairs to make one of the original recipes and one with the added ingredients to increase the fibre. The pupils could then complete a sensory evaluation and/or a nutritional analysis of the two dishes to compare the sensory properties and nutritional profiles.
- The Eatwell Guide has a group of food that sits outside the main image – this group is food high in fat, salt and/or sugars. The message is that these foods are not needed in the diet so, if they are included, they should be eaten infrequently and in small amounts.
- Discuss with the pupils why this is the case and how they can reduce their intake of these foods.
- Ask the pupils to work in small groups, provide a large sheet of paper for them to create a list of different food that would be included in this group. Discuss the ways in which they could modify their intake of these food and drinks.
- Challenge the pupils to investigate the requirements for food to be labelled as high or low in fat, salt or sugar. Use a nutritional analysis programme, such as Explore food, to produce the nutrition label for a recipe they think would sit in this infrequent or occasional food group.
- On average, children and adults in the UK have a high intake of free sugars - around 2-3 times more than recommended. Free sugars are those added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices. Explain what free sugars are and the recommended maximum intake of 30g for everyone aged 11 and over. Ask the pupils to spoon out what they think 30g of sugar looks like, have a 30g sample ready prepared to compare. Ask the pupils to complete the Meal planning and free sugars worksheet to consolidate the learning about free sugars.
- Challenge the pupils to come up with a health pledge which could be about diet or physical activity. A health pledge is a statement of a positive change that someone promises to make about their health. An example of a health pledge could be ‘I am going to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day’. Question pupils on how they plan to achieve this pledge e.g. having a portion with every meal and as snacks. Pupils could make a class display of their pledges.
Further information and resources about recipe modification can be found in the Cooking for health area and nutrition labelling in the Nutrition labels area.
- Using a poster or a print out of the Eatwell Guide, ask the pupils about the Hydration message in the Guide, where do they see it and what are the key messages? Show the Hydration video to give a useful overview of the importance of hydration.
- Use the Hydration presentation to explain the importance of water. Ask the pupils to complete the Hydration worksheet. Discuss with the pupils why water is so important in daily life and how reduced water intake/dehydration can affect their ability to learn and concentrate.
- Challenge the pupils to complete the Hydration Kahoot quiz. Discuss the answers they have given using the Hydration Kahoot quiz answers.
- The Healthy hydration BNF poster is available as a useful teacher/adult resource and can be used as part of a display on healthy hydration.
- Distribute printed copies of the Healthy hydration handouts to small groups of pupils. Ask them to complete the answers for the drink on their card; share the answers with the class. What are the benefits and disadvantages of some of the drinks?
- Challenge the pupils to create a display or presentation for other pupils providing information about the amount and type of drinks they should be consuming. You may wish to include the topic of ‘energy drinks’ and sugar consumption.
- Task pupils with creating a leaflet to provide to other pupils and staff in the school about the importance of hydration and healthy drink choices. Pupils should use reliable sources of information to create their leaflet, e.g. government health department websites or textbooks.
Reviewed November 2023
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