Lesson Plan

Inspire Healthful Reading

Though the use of environmental print has historically been used in the prekindergarten, kindergarten, and grade 1 classrooms for prereading strategy development, it can also be used to encourage students to be critical consumers of healthful eating.
Jamie S.
Instructional coach
Duquesne Elementary School
Duquesne, United States
Show More
My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math

Students will be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of how to read basic information from nutritional labels by differentiating between healthy snacks and special treats.


English Language Arts
Health & Wellness
Grades K – 2
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook


Visit and bookmark Kids Health: Figuring Out Food Labels on your school or classroom computer.

Download, read, and print, if desired, Spot the Block: Tween Tips, Spot the Block for Snacks, Food Facts: A Key to Choosing Healthful Foods, and Eating Healthier and Feeling Better Using the Nutrition Facts Label.

Preselect foods for display in this lesson. Your selection should include a healthy sweet snack and a corresponding special treat. Some examples are strawberries and strawberry pie, an apple and apple pie, and a carrot and carrot cake.

Visit Self Nutrition Data: Know What You Eat to select food labels for printing.  If you’re searching for a common food, such as an apple, you may need to select the exact description of that food from a list.

Print the labels that correspond to the foods you have chosen for display, and attach the labels to the foods if none are already included on the packaging.

Place a colorful variety of prepackaged, shelf-stable, and refrigerated foods on a table, and cover the arrangement with a tablecloth so you can surprise students with them at the onset of the lesson.


Begin by showing students a short BrainPOP Jr video, "Eating Right", which discusses good food choices.

Tap background knowledge by asking students, “What is a treat? What is a snack?” Write their ideas on an interactive white board, dry-erase board, or chart paper for future reference.

Engage active participation by asking students to raise their hands if they like apples, strawberries, and so on. Tally the totals on your interactive white board, dry-erase board, or chart paper. Discuss the differences and similarities in totals between fresh fruits and vegetables and the matching dessert, or special treat.

2 Direct Instruction

Show a fruit and a corresponding dessert, such as a strawberry and a box for a strawberry pie. Discuss with students which is a healthy snack and which is a special treat by explaining that there are several ingredients (such as fat, fiber, and salt content) in a food that help us determine if it is truly a healthy snack or a special treat. For example, while apples have approximately 15 grams of sugar, this is natural sugar. Apple pies indeed have the sugar of apples but also included “added” sugar. Added sugars increase the likelihood that the food item is a special treat instead of a healthy snack.

Model critical thinking about food for students, asking how much sugar is in a fruit such as an apple. Use the nutrition label to view food content. If none is found, show students how to look online for nutrition labels at Self Nutrition Data: Know What You Eat, and compare the amounts of sugar in an apple versus apple pie.

3 Guided Practice

For guided practice, select students to repeat the process of examining nutrition labels for a carrot and carrot cake. Have them use the magnifying glass to search for the word “sugar” and the total grams of sugar in each food.

4 Independent Practice

For independent practice, place students in preselected pairs. Ask one student per pair to retrieve two foods from the display table. Have each pair examine the foods to determine the total amount of sugar in each and whether the food is a special treat or a healthy snack.

Pairs will work to complete Venn Diagram interactive and use it to review the differences and similarities between “healthy snacks” and “special treats.”

5 Wrap Up

Reunite the whole class at the interactive white board, dry-erase board, or chart paper so that the pairs can report back about their foods. Ask them which are healthy treats and which are special snacks. If necessary, review one piece of information to look for (that is, sugar grams) to determine the difference between a healthy snack and a special treat.

Ask students, “What is another ingredient in food that helps us know whether the food is a healthy snack or a special treat?” Give prompts to help them list other ingredients they have heard such as fat, calories, or salt.

To close, students can play "Awesome Eats" in pairs as clean up and transistion takes place.