Activities in this lesson: 1. Calorie Guessing Game 2. Sort Your Snack Video & Handout 3. Condiment Challenge 4. Iron in Cereal Experiment
We all know we shouldn’t eat too many calories, but what are calories?? Calories are a unit of energy, so the calories listed on nutrition labels let you know how much energy your body will receive by eating that particular food. Calories in foods come from a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. While all these macromolecules provide energy, they do not provide equal amounts. 1 gram of both carbohydrates and protein will provide 4 calories of energy, but 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories. This explains why foods with a lot of fat have so many calories. This math does work to our advantage though, because you can store more calories per pound of fat this way….or else you’d need twice as much fat on your body to store the same amount of energy!
The amount of calories a person needs to eat in a day depends on their height, age, weight, and activity level. In order to not gain or lose any weight, a person should eat the same number of calories that they will burn. Calories are burned through involuntary processes like breathing, regulating body temperature, and running processes in the cell. Calories are also burned through physical movement like walking, running, and swimming. The more active a person is, the more calories they burn. As a general guideline it is recommended that adult women eat approximately 2,000 calories a day and adult men eat 2,500. If you are still growing, you might need even more to provide the energy needed to grown new tissues!
In this first activity you will take a “quiz” to see how good you are at predicting how many calories and fat are in various fast food items.
In this next activity, your snacks will compete against one another in a snack showdown to see which will be the “winner” (have the most fat and calories). Watch the video first to practice your estimating skills and then complete the handout at home using your own favorite snacks. The video will also teach you how to read and understand nutrition labels on food packages
Compare the characteristics and nutrition of ketchup and mustard by completing the activity below:
In addition to macromolecules like proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, nutrition labels also indicate nutrients that are in foods (either naturally or added in). One important nutrient is iron (Fe), which helps blood be able to transport oxygen. Many foods have iron added into them to make sure people are receiving the proper amounts. Test out your favorite breakfast cereal to extract the iron so you can see it!
Additional Resources & Activities
MyPlate Take food quizzes, download a nutrition app, and play games
BMI Calculator Calculate your body mass index (BMI) and learn more about how to keep your BMI in the healthy range