Ever notice how many different types of peppers are available in the grocery store? Not only are they vibrant to look at but they also contain different levels of spiciness or pungency depending on the variety. I wanted to expose my students to the characteristics of these unique vegetables giving them an opportunity to learn more about the various species of peppers or chiles, ways to cook with them and challenge themselves to see how the heat level changed the taste of a product as well as how much heat they could take.
I’ve always viewed sodium as a “Catch 22” flavoring agent! It’s one of those minerals your body needs to function correctly, but if under or over consumed, serious health issues can result. So, when I teach this information to my students I try to get them to understand why it’s good, why it’s bad, where we find it and how to reduce it. Of course it’s always fun to follow it up with a low sodium lab and/or a unit on herbs and spices, teaching them how to prepare foods that taste good, with or without the “Catch 22” flavoring agent. So, encourage your students to put on their detective cap and investigate the amount of sodium in the foods they are consuming!
Many think of canning or preserving foods as an old fashioned way of life or hobby, but with more people venturing into organic gardening, cooking and wanting or needing to know what’s in their foods, canning has definitely made it’s way back into this modern era! If you are thinking about teaching food preservation in your FACS classroom, below are some ideas that may be helpful! Also, check out our book giveaway below!
I’ve had several requests for ideas on how to teach common measuring abbreviation and equivalency basics so I thought I’d throw my ideas into the ring. Recently, I discovered this review game called Grudgeball which is a fun and fiercely competitive game and I knew I had to try it with my students. Combined with other ideas I use, I found it to be a very successful way to reinforce students’ measuring abbreviation and equivalency knowledge and the quiz scores proved it! Certainly,others have some awesome, interactive ways to teach this topic so I encourage you to share with us so we all can benefit from them in the comment section below.
Genetically Modified Foods, known as GMO’s, are foods that have had their genes altered through science or genetic engineering, which is monitored through the EPA, the FDA and the USDA. Did you know that many of the foods found in our grocery stores contain at least one ingredient that has been genetically modified? Should we be informed as consumers when this process is affecting the foods we eat? Should genetically modified foods be labeled? There is a huge debate surrounding this dispute. How do your students weigh in on this topic?
There are so many herbs and spices out there that it’s hard to know where to start! In the past, I’ve had my students pick an herb or spice to research and present to the rest of the class. While that was okay, I wanted something a little more “spicy” (pardon my pun) and interactive. After wracking my brain for how I was going to do this, I put it aside for a while. Finally, after months of mulling this over in my head, the following activities and labs came to fruition and were worth the wait! I hope your students like it as much as mine did!
When I ask my students what they or their parents typically make for supper, I get a lot of similar responses. Most tell me they make and or eat whatever is easy, comes out of a box, comes out of the freezer, can be made in the microwave or picked up from a fast food restaurant on the way home. It’s so sad that convenience foods are so heavily relied on instead of preparing foods from scratch. This is one of the reasons I like teaching about casseroles! Not only are they easy to make, include a variety of foods and nutrients, but they can be made in advance, put in the freezer for future meals and convenience and because they get us in the kitchen cooking and using a lot of staple ingredients from the pantry. Way to go casseroles!
MyPlate encourages us to make half our plates whole and the dietary guidelines also recommend we increase our intake of whole grains. This is all great and seems like it should be relatively easy to do, when in reality it is often difficult to know what is truly a whole grain and what is refined. Because whole grains are typically a good source of fiber, I decided to marry the two topics into one mini-lesson and activity where students become sleuths and decode a variety of grain products in order to determine which are truly excellent sources of both fiber and whole grains and which don’t make the grade (even if their labels are deceiving).