Lesson 2 (60 min) What Influences Us- Promotion of Healthy Eating


  • Print the images below and either post around the room or use as handouts for each group.

  • Post the questions/prompts visually.

  • Post the 4 closure questions or print them and hand out to students.

By the end of the lesson, students will...

  • Describe the recommendations of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and explain how these guidelines influence what we eat and how they may be useful in supporting a healthy diet;

  • Summarize the physical, emotional, social, and academic benefits of eating breakfast every day and what the challenges or negative influences may impede us from eating that important meal;

  • Analyze the effect of media and technology on the challenges of limiting the consumption of energy drinks from a personal, family and community perspective; and

  • Analyze how school and community affect the relationship between access to healthy foods and personal food choices.

Introduction Activity- 20 min
Briefly review the key components of analyze an influence. Ask students to give an example of a positive influence, negative influence, internal influence and negative as a way to reinforce what they learned in Lesson 1.

Explain that since this unit focuses on the skill os analyzing influences, we are going to look at a few different topics through this skill. Today's topic is around healthy eating and nutrition and how we may or may not be influenced on what and how we eat. Ask students to stand and have half of the class stand in a circle facing in and half of the class standing in a circle inside the other circle, facing out. Each student should have another student they are essentially paired with and facing.  As you ask the following question (and possible display somewhere visually), give students 1-2 minutes to share with their pair.
1. What is your favorite holiday food tradition?

Ask students in outside circle to rotate one person counter-clockwise. Ask the next question.

2. Can you share of an example of when you were rewarded with food?

Give time to share and rotate outside circle one person counter-clockwise again. Ask the next question.

3. What do people in your family eat or drink when they aren't feeling well/are sick?

Give time to share and then ask students to sit and thank them for participating. If time, ask a few students to share some of their answers or what they heard from others that they found interesting. Ask students how our family and cultures influences what we eat and when we eat it. Discuss. 

Guided Instruction - 30 min.

Place students in five groups. Hand each group one of the images below, or print large enough to post in 5 stations around the room. Explain that these images represent the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, developed by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion - USDA

Ask students why the US may need guidance around what we eat. Some answers may include- to be healthy, some people don't have a lot of knowledge around what to eat, etc. Explain that the Guidelines are designed to help all individuals ages 2 years and older and their families consume a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet.

Ask each group to review their image. Place these four questions up visually for students to see and have them answer as a group. Ask them to be prepared to share out.
•How might this image influence someone that sees it?
•Is the image a positive or negative influence?
•Does the influence seem valid (a good source of information)? Can you tell or do you need more information?
•What are the challenges to following what the image suggests everyday? For example, finding time to eat breakfast may be a challenge.

Images include:

Energy Drinks.jpg
5 Overarching Guidelines.png
Source: https://askdrnandi.com/the-health-benefits-of-eating-breakfast/

Source: https://askdrnandi.com/the-health-benefits-of-eating-breakfast/

Closure - 10 min
Tell students that today they learned about some of the healthy nutrition recommendations for Americans. Post or share these questions below in some way. Ask students to write down their biggest nutrition challenge (for themselves). It could be drinking enough water, eating breakfast everyday, eliminating energy drinks from their diet, eating a more colorful plate... and have them write down one reason they are supported or influenced to eat/drink that way. Is it internal (addiction/cravings to sugar)? Or external- someone buys cases of energy drinks at Costco and they are easily accessible at home? And, how might a positive influence help support a healthier alternative? Have students turn in, or post, or do for homework, or bring for class the next day. Whatever works for your teaching style/process. 

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