What's On Your Plate: Fruit and Veggie Cards, Pea or Corn Tasting, and Chip Bag Labels

Published July 18, 2016 | Updated January 2, 2017
Subject: Nutrition Education
Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Place of Learning: Academic Classroom
Resource Type: Lessons
Grade Level: Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8
Uploaded by:
Kyle Cornforth
Program Affiliations:

These lessons help students think critically about their food choices.

Fruit and Veggie Card Games

This is a game we play several times during the What’s on Your Plate? Class. It is a perfect ‘sponge’ activity. It can be 5-15 minutes long. It is high interest and very engaging.

CA Department of Education Vegetable and Fruit Cards - order online at www.cde.gov.

Get a group of related cards together. See the list below for possible groupings. Have one student sit on the ‘hot seat’ (a stool), and put a card behind her head so she cannot see it but the rest of the class can. The rule of the game is that each student can only give a one-word clue. The student on the hot seat calls on a student (with a hand up) to get a clue as to what is on the card behind her
head. This continues until the student solves the mystery. The student that gives the word that allows the student to guess the correct fruit/vegetable is the next one to be on the hot seat.

Rules of the Game (for the students)
• One-word clues only
• Do not use a word that rhymes with the answer as a clue, i.e., tango/mango, glum/plum, or bunion/onion
• Only the person that is called on by the student in the hot seat can give a clue
• Do not use a part of the answer in the clue, i.e., straw/strawberry
• Do not use a different language to say the same thing, i.e., fresa/strawberry
• Do not use hand gestures

Possible Categories

• Seasonal fruits and veggies
• Brassicas
• Citrus
• Orange foods
• Tropical fruits
• Roots & tubers we eat

• Stems we eat
• Leaves we eat
• Flowers we eat
• Dried fruits
• Legume family
• Things that grow in the school garden

Follow Up

Have the student guess what the categories have in common. Then there is a mini-lesson potential for nutrition that can work for the majority of the categories, with the exception of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Nutrition facts are on the back of the cards. Example: if the category was orange foods, the nutrition profile of those foods would be Vitamins A and C.

Pea or Corn Tasting


Students taste different preparations of the same food and observe the nutritional profiles of those different foods.

• Frozen peas or corn
• Canned peas or corn
• Fresh peas or corn
• Dried peas or corn
• 2-3 processed pea or corn products (baked pea snacks, corn chips, etc.)

Choose just one food group to compare (peas OR corn). Have students sample all the peas or corn foods. Make a large chart for students to record both nutritional data and tasting notes. It is important to point out to students that frozen foods are usually blanched before freezing, canned foods typically have salt and sugar added, and processed foods tend to have many ingredients.

To see another lesson taught in the What’s on Your Plate? Class, go to
http://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/fruit-haiku to see Beth Sonnenberg teach a class on tasting citrus fruit and writing haikus.

Chip Bag Labels and the Burning Cheeto


Students will investigate the amount of fat, salt, and number of servings in a variety of chips/snack foods.

• Collection of about 100 chip bags. They need to be a variety of different types, some of the “healthy” variety as well as the typical corner store chips, also in a variety of sizes.
• Overhead transparency of a Cheeto bag with 2.5 servings
• Chip Investigation worksheet for each student (attached)
• Calculators
• Cheetos
• Paper clip
• A ball of clay or a potato
• Plate
• Lighter or matches.

Introduce the activity by asking students what we already know about nutrition labels. Put the overhead up on the wall and color code the following information: servings per container, calories per serving, fat, sodium, and where the ingredient list is. 

Distribute the Chip Investigation worksheet and calculators. Have students work on the example on the overhead. The most important thing is to have them calculate the calories per bag by multiplying # of servings by calories per serving.

After they record a minimum of ten different types of chips, they need to rank the chips in order of healthiest to least healthy and justify their ranking.

Outside Activity: The Burning Cheeto

Take a Cheeto and carefully work a straightened paper clip into the middle of it lengthwise as far as you can without breaking it. Stick the other end into a ball of clay or potato to stabilize it. Put it on a plate and have students gather around (not too close!). Get a volunteer to time how long it burns. Light the Cheeto from the bottom and observe (it usually burns for over a minute, and fat begins to
bubble out of it). Afterwards, have students write a reflection. Ask them if this will have any impact on the amount of chips they will eat in the future.

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