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Tofu (3-5)

9 minutes
Primary subjects: 
Health
Grade: 
3, 4, 5
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About

This lesson includes a discussion of tofu and identification of its nutritional benefits. At the end of this lesson, students should be able to identify the food group tofu belongs to (protein), and other benefits of tofu. They will be able to explain how tofu is made from soybeans and why protein and calcium are important for a healthy body. Lastly, they will know what tofu tastes, looks, and feels like.

Key objectives for students
Expose students to tofu and its nutritional benefits, appearance, and taste
Identify which food group contains tofu
Discuss why protein is important in a healthy diet
Discuss ways to eat tofu
List two main nutrients in tofu
Secondary subjects
Agriculture Science, Health and Nutrition
Topics
Healthy choices regarding food, Five food groups, Nutritional benefits of healthy food
Skills
Communication skills
Values
Curiosity, Optimism
Methods
Real-World Application
Background information for teachers

The majority of 9-Minute Nutrition Ninja lessons include taste tests of the day's lesson. We have provided an allergy form. Please provide this allergy form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom.

HOW TO SERVE:

  • Pass out tofu that has been cut into quarter inch cubes
  • Add a little soy sauce
  • Serve on a small cocktail napkin or plate
  • Served room temperature
  • Ask questions such as “Do you like the taste of tofu?”, “Would you eat tofu again?”
In Advance

One week
Please provide a printed copy of the allergy form to all students approximately one week before the tasting activities to allow ample time for parents/guardians to read, sign, and return to the classroom. Check your school policies to understand how to handle food allergies and modify the tasting activities for students with food sensitivities.

Two days

  • Purchase firm or extra firm tofu for tasting, approximately one small cube per child (purchased in cubes or cut into quarter-inch cubes by teacher before lesson commences)
  • Provide gloves for those handling food
  • Use tongs for passing out food
  • Use cocktail napkins or small plates
  • Provide soy sauce (one drop from a squeeze bottle)
Materials needed

Protein

  • Firm or extra firm tofu for tasting, approximately one small cube per child (purchased in cubes or cut into quarter-inch cubes by teacher before lesson commences)
  • gloves for those handling food
  • pair of tongs
  • enough cocktail napkins or small plates for each student
  • soy sauce (one drop from a squeeze bottle)

Visuals
Tofu Handout

Time Exercise Description
9 minutes Discussion
Implementation

DISCUSSION:

  • Hello Nutrition Ninjas!
  • Today we are going to be talking about tofu.
  • Does anybody know which food group tofu is in?
  • Tofu is in the protein food group. All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, soy, nuts, and seeds are part of the protein food group.
  • Has anyone ever heard of tofu?
  • Has anyone ever tried it? Did you like it? How was it served?
  • Does anybody know what tofu is made from?
  • Tofu is made from soybeans.
  • Tofu is made in the same kind of way that cheese is made. It is made from cooking soybeans into a soy milk and then forming curds by adding an ingredient called nigari. The nigari mixes together with the soy milk and makes curds. Then the curds are pressed together into blocks of tofu (show tofu block).
  • Many vegetarians, people who choose not to eat meat, eat tofu instead of meat.
  • Tofu is very healthy to eat because it doesn’t have much fat, it is full of nutrients, and it protects us against heart diseases.
  • Tofu is packed with protein and also has calcium.
  • Protein builds and fixes all of your body’s tissues and keeps your muscles strong. Protein gives your body energy, too.
  • Calcium is good for your bones and teeth.
  • The texture of tofu can vary. It can be very soft to very firm. So, people can use different kinds in different dishes for a variety of texture.
  • The flavor of plain tofu is very bland, or tasteless. But tofu can take on any flavor from spices or sauces and can be used in a variety of dishes, even desserts! Some desserts that can be made with tofu are custards and pies!
  • Who would like to try some tofu?
  • Today we are going to try some plain tofu. What do you think? It’s very bland, right?
  • What are some of your favorite sauces or spices that you would like to add to this tofu?
  • Would you try tofu again in the future now that you know how healthy it is and that it can be prepared in so many different ways?
  • I also have something about tofu for you to take home with you today (see Downloadable Resources for Tofu Handout).
Assessment Opportunities

At the end of this session, each student should be able to answer at least 3 questions correctly. Questions can be as simple as “What food group is tofu in?” as well as open-ended questions such as “Name some benefits of tofu.” Other questions can be “Name some foods in the protein food group,” “Name the type of bean that tofu is made from,” “Describe the flavor that tofu has.”

Standards assessment

Grades 3-5 Health and PE state-by-state standards

Grades 3-5 Science state-by-state standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Science Grade 4
STRAND: NGSS.4-LS. LIFE SCIENCE
TITLE  4-LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
PERFORMANCE EXPECTATION  4-LS1-2.
Students who demonstrate understanding can: Use a model to describe that animals’ receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.

Community connections

Take-home discussion
Students can discuss with family members what they learned about tofu, and show them the Tofu Handout. Encourage students to share with their family members a new fact they learned, such as "tofu is made from soybeans" and report back if their families knew this fact.