Teaching Portion Size vs. Serving Size with Goldfish & Pokémon Go

Many people have a difficult time discerning between portion size and serving size when they dish out their snacks and meals.  Teenagers are no exception!  This lesson utilizes Goldfish snack crackers to discover what happens to their nutritional intakes when the portion size goes beyond the serving size. Along the way, students learn the causes, impacts and strategies to deal with increased portion sizes. Additionally, students enjoy capturing Pokémon characters as they try to match everyday visuals with common food amounts.  Give it a try and see if your students don’t enjoy learning about portion sizes vs. serving sizes too!


  • Ask students what the difference is between a portion size and a serving size. Explain that a portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, while a serving is the amount of food listed on a nutrition facts label.  Show this video clip for further explanation and examples.


  • Pre-filled baggies of Goldfish crackers with varying amounts. All should be significantly more than the actual serving size.
  • Electronic Devices with QR Code Reader App
  • Projector & Screen
  • Actual Ojects of Portion Control Visuals


  • Ask students to wash their hands or provide a hand sanitizer or disposable gloves for them.  (They will be touching the snack crackers, therefore, you want clean hands/surfaces.)
  • Place students in groups of 3 and ask the eldest of the group to get a “snack” bag for their group.  Explain that they may not eat the snack until advised to do so.  Also provide each student with a copy of the guide sheet “Goldfish Anyone?”.
  • Students count out the number of Goldfish in their bags and answer the first question.  Provide the groups with a copy of the nutrition facts label and have them answer the next two questions.  Stop and share amounts of their portions and how they compare the actual serving size.
  • Using the provided nutrition facts label, have students continue to answer questions 4-9. Again, stop and discuss results.
  • Pause from the cracker activity to learn more about Portion Control by viewing the YouTube clip titled “Portion Sizes—Out of Control” and answer the following questions:
    • What’s happened to America’s portion sizes over the years?
    • What’s caused American’s to increase their portions?
    • What are the results of increased portions?
    • What are 3 strategies we can do to get portions sizes back in control?
  • Discuss the fact that many people find it difficult to choose accurate portion/serving sizes.  However, using visuals associated with portion sizes can help.
  • Introduce the Pokémon Go Picturing Portions activity to see how good your students are at matching the visuals to the food portions.  I have actual objects representing the portion control visuals so students can see their actual size while they are trying to figure out the food amount matches.
  • First students must write a visual from the list to each food amount in the answer box. Once they’ve done that, they scan the answer card from the cards you’ve laid out around the room that correspond with their guess.  For example, if they think that 1/2 cup of beans= the baseball, they scan the card with the baseball and write down the character they’ve captured.
  • After all cards are scanned, students return to their seats and we go over the correct answers and see who has “caught” the most Pokémon characters!
  • For the conclusion of this lesson, students go back to the Goldfish crackers.  Ask them to count out the appropriate serving size according to the nutrition facts label.
  • Explain that one way we can reduce portion sizes is to eat less.  So, take the serving of crackers and divide it evenly among your partners.  Give the extras back to the teacher.
  • Allow students to “eat” their Goldfish as they answer the final question on their Goldfish guide sheet. Students will submit their response as an exit ticket for a grade.


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