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I Am What I Eat

3, 4
Essential questions
There are so many foods to choose from. How can we make healthy choices?
What does it mean to eat a balanced diet?
Is staying active important for a healthy lifestyle, or is eating healthfully enough?
What are some of the different forms that sugar comes in, and how can we recognize them?
How does eating too much sugar affect our bodies?
What do we need to know in order to make healthy food choices?
Which foods do we prefer and why?
How does our food reflect our culture and our traditions?

This module includes the following lessons:

Eco-101: Lesson 1: Eat Well Towers (Estimated time needed: Two 45-minute sessions)
In the first session of this lesson, students explore research-based information about healthy foods and food groups and how to create healthy meals. They learn that food quality, food variety, and portion size are important considerations for making healthy eating choices and that staying physically active is also a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In the second session, students have an opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learned and hone their understanding by participating in a fun block-stacking game. This lesson provides a great opportunity to involve students’ families and/or the community; the Extend tab offers several suggestions for lengthening the reach of these important concepts.

Eco-101: Lesson 2: Sugar Sleuths (Estimated time needed: 45 minutes)
In this lesson, students learn that sugar is a complex, energy-giving carbohydrate that can be delicious to eat in moderation but harmful to the body in excess. They identify some of the chronic diseases related to the overconsumption of refined sugars and learn the health benefits of minimizing the sugar in their diet. Students see that sugar has many names, and they learn how to identify those names in the ingredients list on nutrition labels. They become sugar sleuths as they learn how to find the true sugar content of processed foods and to differentiate healthy food choices from unhealthy ones. Students consolidate what they’ve learned by identifying the amount of refined sugar in a number of food items they bring to class and visually representing that amount with stacks of sugar cubes.

Eco-Activity: Stone Soup: (Estimated time needed: 40 minutes)
In this lesson, students listen to a reading of the popular folktale “Stone Soup.” They then reflect on what the story says about the importance of food and sharing to communities and cultures. Next, they practice self-reflection as they examine their own food preferences and how they came to form those preferences. In a variety of rich extension opportunities, students demonstrate how they can use food to share of themselves and to enrich their local and global communities.

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