Food Choice Consideration Cards
Student Engagement
Food System
Food Choices
Place of Learning: 

ESY Berkeley Teaching Staff
Edible Schoolyard Project
Berkeley, CA

The food choice consideration cards are one of the resources we use in our 8th grade Debate Plate lesson series to prompt self-reflection, critical thought and meaningful conversations. They are small, colorful cards that have a consideration someone might have when choosing what to eat (ex. Taste, Cost etc.) on one side, and a description of that consideration on the back (ex. “How a food tastes”, “How much a food costs” etc.). There are 22 cards in each set. During the Debate Plate lesson series, students have the opportunity to arrange these cards in order of their own priorities when making food choices, and share their results with peers and teachers. This activity is done at any point during the class when a student has down-time, and may be done independently, in small groups, or as a teacher-facilitated activity with the full group.

The cards in our deck are:

  • Animal Welfare – how a food or the processes involved in making it available to you impact animals
  • Appearance – how a food looks
  • Availability – how readily available a food is to you – how easy or difficult it is for you to get a hold of a certain food
  • Body Image - the mental picture or image of your own body, and your thoughts, feelings, and emotions related to that picture or image
  • Cost – how cheap or expensive a food is
  • Culture or identity – what a food represents to you, or its connection to your culture or identity
  • Environment – how the food or the processes involved in making it available to you impact the environment
  • Ease or convenience – how easy and convenient it is to access or prepare a food, or the time and labor required to do so
  • Habit – what you’re used to eating (or not eating) – your familiarity or routines with a food
  • Health & Nutrition – how a food impacts your health
  • Interpersonal relationships – when you make decisions about what to eat based on the desires, needs, recommendations or preferences of others
  • Justice & Labor – the wages, working conditions and rights of the people involved in growing, processing, distributing or preparing a food
  • Mood – how your mood impacts what you want to eat (eg. feeling down and wanting to eat something comforting from your childhood)
  • Past experience – the memories or nostalgia you associate with a food or eating experience
  • Personal image - how you feel you are perceived by others when you are eating a certain food. 
  • Season – how the time of year impacts what you eat
  • Smell – how a food smells
  • Sound – the sound a food makes while you’re preparing or eating it (eg. the crunch of biting a carrot or squeak of chewing certain cheeses)
  • Taste – how a food tastes
  • Texture – the physical feel of a food
  • Time of Day – how the time of day impacts what you eat
  • Weather – how the weather impacts what you eat (eg. hot soup on a cold day)
Example Prompts

Prompts or questions we may ask students to consider:

  1. What are your priorities?
  2. What are different situations in which your priorities change? How?
  3. Choose a friend or family member who you think has different priorities from you? What do you think their priorities are?
  4. What were your priorities in elementary school? How do you think they’ll change as an adult?
  5. How do you think Berkeley School District organizes their priorities for school lunch? If you were in charge of creating school lunch for the Berkeley Unified School District, how would you order these considerations?
  6. You’re babysitting someone younger than you and you’re responsible for making them dinner. What would be your order of considerations?
  7. You’re on a first date and you’re cooking something for your date. What would be your considerations?