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Tools for Teachers

Thank you, teachers! We greatly appreciate your dedication and commitment to educating our Island keiki and for preparing them to become contributing members of society.

We know that your time is precious, so we've created some ideas and activities that you can use in the classroom to teach your students about health and nutrition. Also included is a Web resource guide featuring great sites where you can find lesson plans, activities, quizzes and games pertaining to health.

Feel free to download the Hawai'i Food Pyramid that was created with the assistance of the Hawai'i Dietetic Association and the American Cancer Society.

Food Diary

Have your students keep a diary for one week, detailing what and how much they eat and drink. Students should then break down each entre, food item or course they consumed by its major ingredients. Then, have each student identify which food group each food item belongs to.

For example, Jason ate one pork laulau, two scoops of rice, tossed salad, and two pieces of teri chicken for dinner. The pork laulau can be broken down into two food groups: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group (pork) and Vegetable Group (laulau). The rice would belong in the Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group, tossed salad in the Vegetable Group, and the teri chicken in the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group.

Have the students determine whether the food items they consumed were positive or negative for their health. What kinds of nutrients did each food item contain? Did they eat a balanced meal?

The purpose of this exercise is to make students aware of what kinds of foods they consume and get them to realize the importance of selecting the proper kinds of foods that are beneficial for their health.

Healthiness of Your Favorite Food

Ask your students to bring in the recipe for their favorite home-cooked food item. Have each student break down the food item into its ingredients.

For example, Lisa loves her mom's cheeseburgers. The cheeseburger contains the buns, hamburger patty, pickles, lettuce, and cheese.

Then have each student determine to which food group each ingredient belongs. For example, the buns belong to the Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group; the hamburger patty is in the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group; the pickles and lettuce are in the Vegetable Group; and the cheese is in the Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group.

Next, have each student decide how the food is prepared. Is it fried? Baked? Grilled? Does the food preparation make the food healthier or less healthy?

The purpose of this exercise is to get students to realize that how foods are prepared can impact how healthy they really are, and to get them to make informed food choices.

Food Group Foods

Break students into groups. Assign a Food Group to each group. Have them think of as many individual food items to consume that belong in that Food Group.

For example, in the Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group, you could consume white milk, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, and chocolate milk.

The purpose of this exercise is to make students realize the variety of foods that are contained within each Food Group.

Make a Menu for the Day

Break students into groups. Have each group make a menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu for each meal should contain foods from the Food Groups. The menu for the entire day should complete the number of servings that are required from each Food Group.

For example, the entire day's menu should feature 2-3 servings from the Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group; 2-3 servings from the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group; 3-5 servings from the Vegetable Group; 2-4 servings from the Fruit Group; and 6-11 servings from the Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group.

Groups should share their findings and ideas with the class.

The purpose of this exercise is to have students realize that healthy foods are easy to find and to remind them of foods they may have forgotten and teach them about others they have not known about. By sharing ideas, students can learn about foods that their classmates consume that may be unique to their culture or background.

Foods in the Media

PART I: Have students watch TV for one week and create a diary of the food commercials they see. They should write down the day, time, channel and show they are watching when the commercial appears. They should also indicate the company and food that the commercial is promoting, and the setting, people, and atmosphere depicted in the commercial.

In class, have students share their results and their opinion of the commercial. Have the class determine as a whole, whether the commercial seems to be featuring a food product that is healthy or unhealthy.

PART II: Have students bring old or unwanted magazines and newspapers to class. For one hour, have the students browse through the magazines and newspapers and cut out any food items they see.

Then, have students present their findings to the class. Each student should share which Food Group the food belongs to, the name of the publication they found the food item, and whether the item is healthy or unhealthy.

The purpose of this exercise is to raise students' awareness of how food items are marketed.