Do you know the difference between a health claim and a nutrition claim? Most of my students don’t! This lesson explores the difference between the two as well as why it is so important to understand what food labeling claims actually mean when reading a food label. This lesson includes some informative and creative activities, incorporating the information learned so that others might be enlightened.
- Ask students what the difference is between a health claim and a nutrition claim. Most students don’t know so I have them go to their iPads and look it up.
- Before they answer, I show them a box of Cheerios and ask them to be able to give me an example of each claim from the label.
- You could also set up a gallery of food labels and have students come up with several examples of each depending on the products you use.
- Students then share their findings on both claims as well as reference the actual corresponding examples from the Cheerios box or gallery examples depending on what you used.
- The actual definition of each claim can be found in this article “Nutrient Content Claim vs Health Claim: What’s the Difference?“
- Ask students why food companies market this way and if products make these claims, can we assume they are automatically healthy and nutritious for us. Discuss their responses.
- iPads or Laptops
- Empty Food Box(es) with both Health & Nutrition Claims
- Projector & Screen
- Art Supplies (optional)
- Show students this YouTube Clip “Healthy or Junk Food? Busting Nutrition Labels” to further explore the introductory questions. If pressed for time, you can stop the video after the “Nutella” example.
- Since there are a lot of claims out there, I have students look up specific examples, summarizing in the own words what they mean as they fill in a chart by utilizing this article/website titled “16 Most Misleading Food Labels.
- Students use the information from the video and chart to write an informative acrostic poem with the phrase “BEWARE OF CLAIMS”, following the criteria in the guide sheet.
- Students can apply this knowledge by completing the Food Packaging Worksheet below from Nutrition 411.
- As a creative culminating or extension project, students can “remake” a food product for it’s true meaning like the Nutella example from the video. Students just need to include the original label of the product they are remaking either in picture form or actual container form.
- Food Labeling Claims Chart -Poem Guide Sheet (PDF)
- Food_Packaging_Worksheet_Nutrient_Claims_Nutrition_Facts_and_Ingredients (PDF)
- Beware of Claims_Sample (PDF)
- Healthy or Junk Food? Busting Nutrition Labels
- 16 Most Misleading Food Labels: Healthy or Just Hype?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles Free Digital Photos.