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Teaching Ideas

Food and nutrition is a dynamic field frequently attracting media attention.  News items and current events make relevant classroom icebreakers for discussing nutrition topics.  See recent items below along with suggested teaching ideas.

 

17-03-2017

The sugar tax

Debate on the topic of a sugar tax regularly appears in the Australian media.  In 2015 Refresh.ED presented a teaching idea article focusing on the sugar tax introduced in Mexico in 2014. In its first year, this tax resulted in the sale of sugary drinks dropping by up to 12%.

Since then a handful of countries have planned to introduce a similar sugar tax, including the United Kingdom. In this case, all sugary drinks containing at least 5g of sugar per 100ml will be taxed; with a higher levy rate for those with more than 8g per 100ml.

According to Cancer Research UK estimates a 20% tax on sugary drinks could prevent 3.7 million cases of obesity over the next 10 years. Read the full article here

This article links well with the Year 9 Know Your Drinks unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, ethical understanding, intercultural understanding and critical and creative understanding.

Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What is this article about?
  • What do you think some of the arguments would be from the soft drink industry and its lobbyist against this tax?
  • How do you think we should respond to these arguments?
  • Do you think this tax would work in Australia? Why or why not?

 

23-12-2016

Sustainable fishing 

A media release has described Western Australia as a world leader in sustainable fishing management. The article further explains how the Marine Stewardship Council certification for the Peel-Harvey estuarine fishery was achieved.

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This certification is an indication of what can be achieved when both commercial and recreational fishers works together, with the common goal of seeking to protect the long-term viability of seafood stock. Click here to read the full media release.

To further explain the importance and benefit of sustainable fisheries to students, the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) has released an animated video here along with several other presentations and educational resources.

After reading the article and watching the sustainable fishing video, discuss with the class:

  • What was this article about?
  • Have you heard of sustainable fishing before?
  • Why is sustainable fishing important?
  • How could sustainable fishing affect our nutrition and health?
  • What can we do to encourage and promote sustainable fishing?

 

4-10-2016

Building strong bones

Claims by Paleo Diet supporters that dairy products remove calcium from bones can be confusing. However a team of researchers from Australian Universities have reaffirmed that calcium is important for building healthy bones.

The team, led by Professor Peter Ebeling, from Monash University found that calcium intake can have a direct correlation with bone and other health outcomes. In an ABC interview, Professor Ebeling describes three key aspects to building and maintaining healthy bones including: having an adequate calcium intake at all ages, adequate vitamin D levels and doing regular resistance training or weightbearing exercise.

Good sources of calcium include: Untitled

  • Milk
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Sardines
  • Bread (wholemeal or mixed grain)

To find out more, read the ABC news item here.

The full scientific review is available here.

 

 20-7-2016

What a waste

A recent report released from the Foodprint Melbourne Project has indicated Australia is wasting significant amounts of food, costing us in more ways than money.

According to the report, Melbourne is creating more than 900, 000 tonnes of edible food waste every year. This equates to over 200kg of food waste per person per year; an amount sufficient to feed more than 2 million people annually. These high levels of food waste have a dramatic impact on our environment and natural resources. As a dry climate country, with an already scarce water supply, growing this wasted food in Australia also wastes 180 gigalitres of water per year – or 113 litres per person per day. Further, this food is contributing approximately 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

So what can we do?

There are many ways to reduce food waste at home. These include creating and following meal plans, sharing left over foods, free

Food waste

zing and storing foods correctly and checking your fridge before you go grocery shopping. To find out more, click here.

Information in this report links well with the Year 5 Exploring food and food safety and the Year 6 Food safety for health and environment unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What was this article about?
  • What were some of the key findings from this article?
  • How do you think you could reduce food waste at home? At school? In your community?

 

 6-5-2016

 Consumption of Sugar

In April 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released their latest data on the consumption of sugars. Added sugars include sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose and lactose which are added during manufacture of foods or added by the consumer. Free sugars include added sugars plus sugars naturally present in honey, fruit juice and fruit juice concentrates. Intrinsic sugars are natural sugars in intact fruits, vegetables and milk. According to this latest data, Australians consume an average of 60 grams of free sugars per day, with intakes being highest amongst teenage males (14-18 years old) who consume an average of 92 grams (over 20 teaspoons) of free sugars per day. Close to three-quarters of young people aged 9-18 years exceed the WHO recommendation to derive no more than 10 per cent of their energy from free sugars. The majority (81%) of free sugars consumed came from the energy-dense, nutrient-poor ‘discretionary’ foods and beverages. To read the full ABS report, click here. sugar

Information in this report links well with the Year 5 Limiting salt, fat & sugar unit and the Year 10 Exploring energy sources unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What was this report about?
  • What were some of the key findings from this report?
  • How do you think these statistics compare to the amount of added sugars in your diet?
  • How do you think you could reduce the amount of added sugars in your diet?

 

6-5-2016

Making eating cool for school canteen menus

Just like UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, Australian chef Andrew Farley has made some dramatic changes to the canteen menu at a school in NSW. Mr Farley said when he commenced his new role as canteen and catering manager, the menu mainly consisted of pies and sausage rolls but now he has added a range of healthy options including chicken salad wraps, salads, beef burgers, home-made muffins, cold-pressed apple juice, hummus cups and one-dollar fruit cups. Staff and students are embracing the new menu. To read the full story, click here. Canteen girl

Information in this article links well with the Year 10 Healthy canteens unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What was this article about?
  • Would it need a trained chef to improve our school canteen menu?
  • What marketing and advertising would need to be done to promote healthy canteen choices to students?

 

6-5-2017

 The benefits of the traditional Japanese diet

According to a new study, eating a traditional Japanese diet, which includes a high intake of fish, soybean products and a low intake of fat, has been linked with a longer life expectancy. According to the study, adults in Japan who closely followed that country’s recommended dietary guidelines had a 15 percent lower risk of dying during a 15-year time period, as compared to people who didn’t follow the guidelines. Click here to read the full story.

Information in this article links well with the Year 9 Taste of Asia unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, intercultural understanding and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:Japanese food

  • What was this article about?
  • How you do think the traditional Japanese diet differs from the traditional Western diet?
  • What do you think are some of the health benefits of the traditional Japanese diet?

 

4-2-2016

Western Australian milk recall

In January 2016, Coles announced a recall on some of their one-litre cartons of full cream and hilo milk, with a certshutterstock_256479556ain expiry date.

This recall was initiated following an internal test showing a microbial count higher than quality standard. The contamination is believed to be due to coliforms, a type of bacteria which has been linked to causing illness particularly among vulnerable populations such as young children, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system. More information on this recall can be found here.

Information in this article links well with the Year 6 Food safety for health and environment unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What was this article about?
  • Why did this product need to be recalled?
  • What does this tell you about the safety of milk we buy in supermarkets?

 

 4-2-2016

 New fast food chain to hit Australian shores

It has been announced that a new fast food outlet called Jollibee will soon be coming to Australia by 2017. Jollibee already has over 2,200 stores in the Philippines and 1,000 stores overseas including 29 in the US. Considered to be an Asian take on the popular McDonalds, Jollibee offers its customers a variety of unique fast food options. To read more and to see some of the items on the menu and advertisements, click here.

Information in this article links well with the Year 5 Limiting salt, fat and sugar unit and the Year 10 Exploring energy sources unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What are your thoughts on this new fast food chain coming to Australia? Jollibee
  • What are some of the potential health consequence of this new fast chain coming to Australia?
  • What are some of the potential environmental consequences of this new fast chain coming to Australia?

 

17-11-2015

The facts on meat and its links with cancer

Recently there has been some coverage in the media about red and processed meats and their link with cancer. With so much misinformation available on food and nutrition, it is difficult to know what to believe. Cancer Council NSW has released an article, available hereshutterstock_250902856 presenting the facts on meat and cancer and what it means for our diets.

This article presents key messages consistent with the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and highlights the beneficial role lean meat can still play in a healthy diet. Useful tips on meat serve sizes and cooking methods are also provided.

Information in this article links well with the Year 4 Balanced diet unit and Year 10 Exploring energy sources unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What was this article about?
  • Did some of the information in this article surprise you? Why?
  • Do you eat red or processed meats regularly as part of your diet? How does your intake compare with the recommended frequency and amount?
  • What could be some dietary alternatives to too much meat?

 

17-11-2015

New Health Star Rating campaign

The Health Star Rating (HSR) system is a voluntary Australian and New Zealand front of packing labelling system. During 2014-2015 a national campaign is being implemented to support implementation of this system. The key purpose of this campaign is to:

  • Raise awareness of the HSR system.Health star rating
  • Develop understanding of how to read the HSR label.
  • Prompt consideration of nutrition as part of purchasing behaviour.
  • Develop consumer confidence in the HSR as an independent and informative nutrition guide.

More information on this new front of labelling packaging can be found on their website.

Information on this website links well with the Year 5 Limiting salt, fat and sugar unit and the Year 9 Food labels exposed unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • How do you read the Health Star Rating label?
  • Who do you think the Health Star Rating label is aimed at?
  • What are some advantages of using the Health Star Rating?
  • What are some disadvantages of using the Health Star Rating? 
  • What other label information could you look at to determine if a food is a healthy choice?

 

3-7-2015

9 Health foods that are not really that healthy

Walking down the health food aisle at the supermarket can be a mind-boggling experience. With so many health food options now available, it is hard to know what to choose and what is really healthy. This article highlights nine common ‘health foods’ which may not be as good for you as you first thought.

This article links well with the Year 9 Food labels exposed unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy and critical and creative understanding. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What was this article about?
  • Did some of the foods mentioned in this article surprise you? Why?
  • Do you eat any of these listed foods regularly as part of your diet? What could be some healthier alternatives?
  • What is the best way to work out if a food is really a healthy choice?

 

29-6-2015

Breakfast and its importance to our health

Whilst it has been said for many years that eating breakfast is an important meal of the day, this article indicates it is also important to consider the types of foods and nutrients chosen. Click here to read the full article.

This article links well with the Year 10 Exploring energy sources unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, intercultural understanding and critical and creative understanding. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:Porridge

  • What is this article about?
  • What is your breakfast routine (i.e. eat when you first wake up, wait until mid-morning, skip breakfast)?
  • What are two nutrients mentioned in this article which are important to include in your breakfast? Why are they important?
  • What are some pros and cons of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals?
  • What would you look for in a healthy breakfast cereal and why?

 

16-6-2015

Sugar-sweetened beverage tax – the pros and cons

On January 1, 2014, Mexico introduced a national tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Since this tax, a recent study has found a greater national awareness of the health risks of SSB consumption and an overall reduction in consumption of these harmful drinks. Click here to read the article.

This article links well with the Year 9 Know Your Drinks unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, ethical understanding, intercultural understanding and critical and creative understanding. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What is this article about?
  • What is the main problem addressed by introducing this tax?
  • What do you think are some benefits of introducing this tax?
  • What do you think are some negatives of introducing this tax?
  • Do you think this tax would work in Australia? Why or why not?

 

 9-5-2014

refreshed-mealSoft drink, burgers and chips – the diet of our youth

A press release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlights the high soft drink, burger and chip consumption of 14-18 year old males compared to other groups in the population. Click here to read the press release.

This article links well to the Year 9 Food labels exposed and Year 9 Know your drinks units as well as the Year 10 Exploring energy sources unit.  It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, numeracy, critical and creative thinking and personal and social capability. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What is this article about?
  • Is the headline justified by the data presented?
  • Do the statistics reflect your own observations of the eating habits of youth?
  • What influences young males to consume more soft drink, burgers and chips than the rest of the population?
  • What is the problem with this type of diet?
  • What might encourage young males to make healthier food and drink choices?

 

11-11-2013

Sporting groups and junk food company sponsorship

refreshed-soccerThe West Australian published an article about three Western Australian sporting groups funded by alcohol or junk food companies. Click here to read the article.

This article links well to the Year 10 Exploring energy sources unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, ethical understanding and critical and creative thinking. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What is this article about?
  • What is the argument presented in this article?
  • What are the consequences (positive and negative) for a sporting group being associated with a junk food company?
  • Do you agree with the recommendations made by health promotion agencies?
  • What action could parents and players take to change the situation?

 

5-6-2013

Food waste in Australia

With Australians throwing away as much as 20% of the food they purchase, this article addresses the issue of Food Waste and Australia’s need for a strategy to prevent it.

The article links well with the Year 6 Food Safety for Health and Environment unit. It also addresses Australian Curriculum general capabilities of literacy, ethical understanding and critical and creative understanding. Suggested classroom icebreaker questions include:

  • What was this article about?
  • What does the article suggest needs to be done?
  • Why do you think we waste so much food?
  • What are some strategies that could be put in place at home to reduce food waste?
  • What are some strategies that could be put in place at school to reduce food waste?

 

One thought on “Teaching Ideas

  1. BecCarm

    Interesting article of which I totally agree that sponsorship needs to be a thoughtfully considered choice. Not just monetary influence.
    Also, at AFL venues there is very limited options when it comes healthy food and drink choice.

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