written by: Audrey Alleyne
• edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
• updated: 8/2/2012
An ESL lesson on nutrition can be informative and educational by way of some very interesting class discussion.
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How to Prepare for the Lesson
An ESL lesson on nutrition also gives the opportunity to both adult and children to bring in real fruits and vegetables, which can be shared after class. They can also bring in magazine pictures of fruits, vegetables and other foods to aid in their class discussion on nutrition. This lesson can also include how to read food labels for valuable information towards making informed choices. Students can also make field trips to farmers’ markets and organic grocery stores.
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Do A Survey
Start your lesson with a survey on what aspects of nutrition interest your students most. Let them gather new vocabulary as they discuss and give their opinions. Here are some guides to get them talking. Tell them that they can choose to discuss eating or adding fruits and vegetables to their diets in place of unhealthy snacks, eating balanced diets, and safe food handling practices at home, school or on the job. Ask them if they have any particular aspect of health or nutrition they would like to discuss.
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A Lesson on Fruits and Vegetables
Here is a lesson plan which teachers can use with fruits and vegetables. Give students worksheets with pictures of fruits and vegetables. Let them also use magazine pictures they would have brought in as well, in addition to real fruits if possible. Have them identify and help them name the fruits and vegetables. Now ask them to point out the ones they already know.
If there are Hispanic students in the class, you will discover that the fruits commonly eaten by them are oranges, bananas, mangoes, watermelons, and papaya. Their vegetables include tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, zucchini and chili, greens and onions. If there are Asian students, they will probably point out the same, including bamboo shoots and snow peas. If you do not have some of these real fruits or vegetables, you can do another lesson where you introduce these to students who are not familiar with them. Encourage students to try the foods that are unfamiliar to them, and compliment those who already have healthy eating habits, impressing on them that they should not succumb to unhealthy eating habits in the United States. Encourage those who prefer to snack on pizza, hamburgers, candy and ice cream for example, to aim towards a goal for healthy eating as defined by the USDA; by adding fruits and vegetables to their diets. Discuss the health values of the various fruits and vegetables.
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Healthy Snack Day
At the end of the lesson, you can propose a healthy snack day. Tell students you will bring a healthy snack for break time, and that they should each bring one and one to share. On that day, walk around the class and ask questions like: “What did you bring for snack, today?’ or “Did you bring a fruit or a vegetable for break-time snack, today? Congratulate them on bringing healthy snacks with positive comments like “Wow, carrots! Great for the eyes!" or “A banana! You’ll get your share of potassium!"
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Positive Nutritional Changes
With an ESL lesson on nutrition, students are prepared to apply their classroom language skills to real-life situations, and achieve valuable life skills in the process. Students can make positive nutritional changes in their diets as a result of lessons on health and nutrition.