In this video, explore the relationships among health, portion size, and traditional soul food and fast food diets. In the accompanying classroom activity, students compare how much they actually eat of certain foods with the “serving size” on the package. They also calculate nutrients consumed based on actual portion size. To get the most out of the activity, students should have experience using a measuring cup and interpreting percent as a rate. They should also be familiar with measurements in grams and milligrams.
●calculate a unit rate comparing actual portion size and the Nutrition Facts label serving size
●apply this unit rate to calculate the actual amount of nutrients consumed
●define the vocabulary terms below
Common Core State Standards: 6.RP.A2, 6.RP.A.3b
Vocabulary: Percent, daily value, sodium, saturated fat, unit rate, ratio
Materials: Per student: pencil, calculator, copies of the What’s My Portion? worksheet; for the class: materials for each station
Preparation: Cut Nutrition Facts labels from two snack foods and make copies for each student. Also make four to six copies of the worksheet per student. Next, set up four to six stations, each with several (cereal- or pasta-size) bowls, several 2- to 4-cup measuring cups, a container of food, and serving spoons or tongs. Use a different food for each station. Choose familiar foods, some healthy and some less so (e.g., sugary cereal, healthy cereal, almonds). For each food, provide a Nutrition Facts label with the serving size in cups.
Note: If students are allowed to eat during class, provide paper cups so that they can pour a small amount for themselves.
1. Introduction (5 minutes, whole group)
Engage students in considering family food traditions and healthy eating. Ask them:
●What does your family eat at get-togethers?
●Why are family food traditions important?
●Do you have any relatives who have had to change their diet because of medical conditions, such as diabetes? What do they do at family meals?
Distribute the Nutrition Facts labels. Prompt students to compare them, focusing on percent of daily value and quantity (mg and g) of sodium and saturated fat.
Before moving on, note the following USDA recommended limits. Students may use these figures in making calculations during this activity:
●20 grams (g) of saturated fats per day
●2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day for healthy adults, or 1,500mg per day for high-risk individuals, including African Americans
2. Video (5 minutes, whole group)
Show students the video, pausing when Byron’s Sunday breakfast plate appears on screen (00:57) to ask:
●What percent of daily value for saturated fat is in one serving of eggs, bacon, and toast? What percent of daily value for sodium?
●What are these measures for two servings?
Continue playing the video for the answers.
3. What’s My Portion? (15 minutes, individuals and small groups)
Distribute calculators and copies of the worksheet. Review the instructions as you work through the following example with the class:
I have 2 cups of cheese popcorn. One serving is 3/4 cup and contains 220mg (9%) of sodium and 8g (40%) of saturated fat. How much sodium and saturated fat are in my portion—both in terms of total milligrams/grams and in terms of percent of total daily allowance?
Use the discussion to introduce or review the terms unit rate and ratio.
Divide the class into as many groups as there are stations. Assign each group to a station. Explain the order in which groups will circulate. Students should visit at least three stations.
Be sure to observe how students are comparing serving sizes. Check that they are making multiplicative comparisons, appropriately handling fractions, and calculating correctly when portion size is less than serving size on the label.
4. Conclusion (5 minutes, whole group)
Encourage students to consider findings in the context of a full day’s consumption. Ask, “Did anyone end up with 100% of daily value for sodium with one snack? Close to 50%? How much more sodium could you consume and still not exceed the daily value?”
Activity Extension: Have students use a Web site that provides nutrition information (such as the USDA’s SuperTracker site) to plan a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner that fall within recommended daily values for sodium and saturated fat. They should consider portion sizes and determine if the meals would constitute more or less than they usually eat.