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Lessons > High School > Nutrition & Physical Activity
Nutrition & Physical Activity

18 Lessons


Students begin their study of nutrition and healthy eating by learning the relationship between nutrition and health. They work in small groups to read and teach each other about key nutrients needed for health. They discuss how nutrition choices can contribute to or help prevent certain chronic diseases. Then they use what they’ve learned to explain how they can consume foods with key nutrients and why each nutrient is important.


This lesson introduces the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and helps students understand how to follow these recommendations for healthy eating. After analyzing the main messages of the Dietary Guidelines, students consider their own eating habits and make recommendations for improvement. For homework, they keep a log of the foods they eat.


This lesson introduces the USDA MyPlate system for making food choices to ensure a healthy and balanced diet. After reviewing the Food Logs they’ve completed since the last class, students learn about food groups, identify foods in each group and which nutrients different foods provide, then see illustrations of appropriate food amounts to eat from each group. They discuss why it’s important to eat a variety of foods to meet daily nutrient and calorie needs, and how to get proper nutrition when eating a vegetarian diet. Then they make a one-day plan for healthy eating to demonstrate what they’ve learned. For homework, they again keep track of their food choices to see how these compare to the MyPlate recommendations.


In this lesson, students learn how to use food labels to make healthier food choices. After reviewing the food log they completed as homework, they discuss how the Nutrition Facts on food packaging can help people choose healthy foods. Students examine the Nutrition Facts on a sample food label and identify the key information the label provides. They review how to read ingredients lists, particularly in regard to identifying added sugars, then compare ingredients in some common snack foods to determine the healthier choices. They test their knowledge by comparing two sample Nutrition Facts labels to evaluate which represents the healthier food.


In this lesson, students learn how to make healthier choices when eating at fast-food restaurants. They discuss some of the challenges fast foods pose to eating healthy, including supersizing, excess calories, fat and sodium. Then they select a typical fast-food meal and analyze the calories, fat and sodium content of that meal. They discuss ways to make that meal healthier and stay within recommended calorie and nutrient needs. They revisit the fast-food meal, and suggest ways to make it healthier. For homework, they keep a log of all the ways they are physically active.


This lesson focuses on components of fitness and guidelines for physical activity. After considering how physical activity makes them feel, students learn about the components of physical fitness. They explore each one in more depth, identify activities that help build each component, and are introduced to the federal guidelines for physical activity. They apply what they’ve learned to answer some common questions about physical fitness. For homework, they again keep track of their physical activity to see how well they are meeting the recommendations.


This lesson focuses on the health benefits of physical activity. Students brainstorm physical, mental/emotional and social benefits of being physically active and examine the link between physical activity and prevention of chronic disease. They examine common barriers to being active and brainstorm ways teens can integrate more physical activity into their daily lives.


In this lesson, students work in small groups to read about staying safe during physical activity, including staying hydrated, paying attention to weather and climate, and wearing protective gear. Then they work in small groups to create text messages that will convince other teens to stay safe during physical activity.


In this skills-based lesson, students discuss sources of information about nutrition and physical activity and how to know if a source is valid and reliable. They examine questions to ask to evaluate online resources. Then they gather information about a particular question, prepare their research and share their findings.


In this lesson, students learn about goal setting. They review the activity sheets they filled out earlier to log their eating and activity behaviors, then complete a more formal assessment to identify a behavior to work on. The teacher reviews steps for setting a goal and students practice applying these steps to a sample goal. Then students set a specific goal in the area of healthy eating or physical activity and create a plan to achieve it.


In this lesson, students practice self-management skills as they track weekly progress toward their healthy eating and physical activity goals. They review a sample plan as an example of how to monitor their goals, then complete brief daily reports and a weekly assessment of their progress each week.


In this lesson, students analyze the positive and negative influences that affect their eating and physical activity behaviors. They identify various influences and examine how these influences can help or impede their progress toward achieving a healthy eating or physical activity goal. Then they explore strategies for overcoming negative influences that create barriers to their goal-setting plans.


This lesson examines influences on body image and the importance of a positive body image. After defining body image, students examine things that influence their view of their bodies, with an emphasis on the unrealistic body images often portrayed in advertising and other media. Students then identify ways to reinforce a positive view of one’s body and overcome negative influences on body image.


This lesson introduces students to myths and facts about dieting, and reinforces balancing calories, healthy eating and being physically active as the healthy way to lose weight. Students discuss why many teens want to lose weight and how this relates to body image. They take a quiz about ways to lose weight, and then examine myths about weight loss, including the dangers of fad diets. Then they use what they’ve learned to offer advice on how to lose or maintain weight in healthy and safe ways.


Students are introduced to the health risks caused by disordered eating and compulsive exercising. They learn about the characteristics of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating and compulsive exercise, as well as the health risks and symptoms of these disorders. They read about ways to help a friend or acquaintance who shows signs of disordered eating, and practice how to express concern for a friend and how to ask an adult for help.


In this lesson, students learn about food-borne illness and how to prevent it. They identify symptoms and causes of food-borne illnesses, including viruses, bacteria and parasites in food. They explore strategies to prevent food-borne illness, and strategies for safely preparing foods at home or at work. Then they demonstrate what they’ve learned by identifying causes of food-borne illness and describe strategies that could have prevented it.


This culminating activity assesses student learning for the unit through a written exam.


In this culminating activity, students work in small groups to develop a healthy eating and physical activity action plan for a friend to help improve eating and physical activity behaviors. Students begin by surveying a volunteer friend to gather and assess information on eating and physical activity behaviors. Then they work in small groups to review the information from the interview, research nutrition and physical activity information as needed, and use the various guidelines for healthy eating and physical activity they have learned to develop a healthy eating and physical activity plan for the friend that includes tools for monitoring behaviors and getting weekly support for one month. They review each other’s work on the various sections of the plan and revise to incorporate feedback from other group members. Then the group writes an introduction and assembles the final plan, including recommended resources.