Promoting Whole Foods

When it comes to my food, I like to keep it REAL!  Growing up real foods came from the garden and fruit trees we grew, harvested and preserved.  Real muffins, cookies, and desserts were made from the eggs we gathered daily from our backyard chickens and real meats came from the wild game my father hunted and fished for.  Home cooked meals were prepared by my mother and were made with real foods with ingredients I actually knew and could pronounce.  Sadly, the majority of my students don’t know what it means to eat real.  All they know is the pre-packaged, easy to make foods known as processed.  This lesson explains the differences between the whole, real foods I know and the processed foods they know and hopefully gives them “food for thought” when it comes to making REAL changes in their eating habits.

Time Frame:  3 Periods (43 minutes)

Class Size:  16

PA Standards

  • 11.3.9 A  Explain how scientific and technological developments enhance our food supply (e.g. food preservation techniques, packaging, nutrient fortification).
  • 11.3.6 C  Analyze factors that effect food choices.


  • Introduce this lesson by showing students a slide of Gummy style fruit snacks and a bowl of various fruits.  Ask students which is real and which is processed, some nutrition questions (see PPT slide), and to define each term.
  • Follow by viewing a YouTube clip on whole foods and processed foods to learn the characteristics that distinguish them.  Students will write the characteristics for each on a T-Chart they create in their notes.
  • After reviewing the characteristics for each term, students will practice identifying the whole foods from processed foods by completing a SMARTBOARD activity (see PPT slide).




  • Projector
  • Lap Tops
  • Poster Supplies
  • Post-it-notes


  • Discuss the MyPlate message that suggests that we eat less processed foods and eat more meals prepared from scratch (or at least semi-homemade).  Some reasons for this include physical, economical and environmental issues.
  • For the physical, read a portion from the article “Obesity in America” (see lesson plan for specific portion) as a class and then individually have a students write a one paragraph summary of the article on a post-it-note.  Put students into groups of four and post everyone’s summary to a corner on a larger piece of construction paper.  Together they must write/create the best summary in the center of it.
  • For the economical and environmental issues, view “The True Cost of Foods” video which explores these issues in relation to eating processed versus whole or natural foods.


  • Complete the Task Rotation Learning Grid to apply learning from all materials.  Students will summarize video information, complete a Venn-Diagram that compares and contrasts ingredients in a processed vs. scratch meal, asks students personally how they can reduce processed foods in their diet and finally students will create a promotional message encouraging whole foods over processed foods (see lesson plan for details and forms).


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