In the activity, students visit several Web sites that contain
live school lunch menus. They also visit a site that provides
a downloadable copy of the booklet Nutrition and Your Health:
Dietary Guidelines for Americans in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format.
They then use this document along with ideas gathered from
the school sites to create a lunch menu for a school in their
own community that is both appealing and nutritionally sound.
- To recognize the Dietary Guidelines
for Americans posted on the World Wide Web as a useful tool
in making healthful food choices.
- To understand the importance of variety,
moderation, and balance in developing a nutritious eating
- To create a lunch menu that satisfies
the nutritional needs of elementary school-age children.
Introduce the activity by asking students whether they have
seen food ads that make claims such as "good and good
for you." Ask: Is it possible for a food to meet both
these criteria? Have students answer by volunteering the names
of seasonal foods that most people enjoy eating (for example,
fresh corn on the cob, plump berries and other summer fruits),
noting that such foods provide needed nutrients--and hence
might be considered good for you--while giving you a pleasurable
eating experience. Invite students to log on to the on-line
activity page, observing that the first five labels listed
under Health Links are links to actual school lunch pages
in various parts of the country.
Set aside a portion of a class period for students to share
and compare the menus they devised. Discuss which of the menus
incorporated foods that met the Daily Values for various nutrients
noted in the Dietary Guidelines, and also offer mealtime possibilities
that might appeal to an elementary school student. Invite
students to submit copies of their menus--and, where called
for, original recipes--to schools in the community. Any letters
received in reply from school nutritionists and/or dietitians
may be used as an assessment benchmark of student success
on the project.