Students understand very little about nutrition. This may or may not be a surprise to you, but I was completely shocked. I see 135 students everyday and maybe 3 have a working understanding of nutrition. I am troubled by this because it is obvious to me that students are filling themselves with whatever is available and not spending any time thinking about: Should I be putting this into my body?
In my preparation for this particular unit I polled my students to see where they are eating. About 75% answered that they get at least 2-3 meals every week from fast food establishments. McDonald’s classifies people who frequent their restaurant once a week as “Heavy Users”. Under that classification 3 out of 4 of my students are fast food Heavy Users. Now combine that with the fact that almost none of them put any thought into what they are eating and the foundation is set for some serious nutritional issues.
A tech savvy solution:
I stumbled upon a great site that can help your students start to think critically about the fast food choices they are making. The website is called Drive Thru Diet and it is maintained by Wake Forest Baptist Health. The site gives you the choice of 21 popular fast food restaurants. Once you select a restaurant you are given a list of choices of what you would pick for a meal (The screenshot below shows the high school version of myself picking at McDonalds…yes I have grown in my nutritional understanding)
After you click on the button “See Our Healthier Choices” you are shown a breakdown of the total Calories, Fat, Sodium, Carbs, Sugar, Fiber, and Protein in the meal. The site also suggests Healthier Choices you could substitute in your order. The site goes on to tell you the Healthiest options the restaurant offers.
This site is serving two purposes: The first is it gives students the opportunity to think critically about what they are eating. The second is it gives us a jumping off point to talk about Calories, Fat, Sugar, Etc. I hope you find this site as useful as I have.