Objectives

For more information about the understandings, essential questions, and alignment of this lesson to National Health Education Standards, State Standards, please visit our website, www.roadoflife.org

Introduction

Background:

Eating at fast food restaurants can be a quick option to providing a meal in the event a parent is unable to prepare a meal at home. However; the nutrition and financial burden of purchasing a quick meal at a restaurant can be costly. This lesson is designed to teach students how to make healthy decisions in any environment and especially in a restaurant setting.

Discussion:

When eating at a restaurant, what are many of the things considered before making an order or purchasing a meal? Is taste, nutrition, and cost all factors for consideration when purchasing a meal? After purchasing an order, are the selected items healthy and nutritious? Explain to students that even when they are not preparing food, it is important to think about the foods they are eating. Begin by asking students a series of questions about which meal is healthiest.

Which is a healthier meal, Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich or McDonald’s Garden Salad?

Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich actually has less fat than McDonald's Garden Salad with ranch dressing. The garden salad has 21 grams of fat (all from the ranch dressing). The grilled chicken sandwich has only 8 grams of fat.

Item

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

Wendy's

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

310

8

1.5

35

27

McDonald’s

Garden Salad with Ranch Dressing

265

21

3

17

3


Which is a healthier meal, Boston Market’s quarter chicken without skin or Boston Market’s half chicken with skin?

The quarter chicken has 33 fewer fat grams compared to the half chicken with skin. The quarter chicken has no skin, and the skin has a lot of fat in it.

Item

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

Quarter Chicken without Skin

160

4

1

0

31

Half Chicken with Skin

630

37

10

2

74

Which is a healthier meal, McDonald’s Fish Fillet Deluxe or McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Deluxe?

McDonald's Grilled Chicken Deluxe has only 20 grams of fat, and McDonald's Fish Fillet has 28 grams of fat. Although fish is sometimes healthier than chicken, McDonald's Fish Fillet is deep fried in oil. The chicken is grilled.

Item

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

Grilled Chicken Deluxe

440

20

3

38

27

Fish Fillet Deluxe

560

28

6

54

23


Explain to students that even when they are eating out at restaurants (or the school cafeteria) which may or may not provide healthy food selections, they can make healthy food choices. Tell students that it is okay to eat fast food, but emphasize that it is important to eat fast food in moderation. Explain to students that it is possible to eat a healthy meal in a restaurant as long as you try to incorporate fruits and vegetables into the purchase. To illustrate this concept, display the following information:

Recommended daily allowance (RDA) for one full day:

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

2000

65

20

300

McDonalds

A hamburger, grilled chicken salad deluxe with fat-free herb vinaigrette dressing, and a small Sprite.

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

530

22

7.5

61

18

Burger King

A hamburger, broiled chicken salad with reduced calorie light Italian dressing, and a medium Coke.

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

815

23.5

10

110

40

Wendy's

A grilled chicken sandwich, side salad with fat-free French dressing, and an iced tea.

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

575

11

1.5

48

31

Taco Bell

A regular taco, cinnamon twists, and a large Pepsi.

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

520

16

4

82

9

Boston Market

A quarter white meat chicken without skin, new potatoes, whole kernel corn, and a Diet Coke.

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

471

10

1.5

55

39


Subway

A six-inch turkey breast sub with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and peppers and a medium Sprite.

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

480

6

1

99

17

Arby's

A roast turkey deluxe, regular fries, and a Dr. Pepper.

Calories

Total Fat

Saturated Fat

Carbohydrates

Protein

666

20

5

103

22

KFC

An Original breast, mashed potatoes and gravy, garden salad with Italian dressing, and a Coke.

Calories

Total Fat

Carbohydrates

571

16

86

To further illustrate this concept, have students complete the making healthy choices activity.

Learning Activities: Making Healthy Choices

Materials:

  • One menu for each pair of students
  • Two receipts for each pair of students
  • Paper money
  • Butcher paper/chalkboard/transparency (to make a large graph with the class)

Directions:

Round 1

  1. Divide the students into pairs and give each pair a menu and five dollars. Designate one student as the cashier and the other as the customer.
  2. Using their budget of five dollars, have one student order a meal from the menu provided. The partner will total up their order and make change. Have the partner create a receipt with the items purchased, the total cost, and the change received. Then, have the students switch roles.
  3. Poll the class to determine which items were ordered. You may wish to make a graph depicting the students’ selections. After Round 2, you will poll the class again regarding their selections. After both polls have been taken, you can determine in which round the students made the healthiest selections.

Begin by discussing the contents of each meal selection. Did students choose food based on taste, nutrition or cost? It may be helpful at this point to have a student or students collect data on the amount of children who purchased food based on the different categories of taste, nutrition or cost. Ask each child to report their purchased items and graph the results accordingly using a bar graph. Continue to ask the students if they thought that their purchase was healthy and nutritious. Once you have established if each child’s selection was healthy or unhealthy, ask the students which items on the menu are nutritious (i.e., salads, fruit cups and meats) and which items on the menus have few nutrients (i.e., french fries, cookies and ice cream).

Round 2

  1. Take the pairs from Round 1 and combine them into groups of four. Each person still has a budget of five dollars. However, two members of the group will pretend that they are going out to lunch. Therefore, they have the option of sharing items if they choose to do so. The other two group members are responsible for calculating the cost of the order. Each role should be determined before starting the next round.
  2. Advise students to make the healthiest meal choices in this round. Some tips include:
    • Order regular sized meals instead of the extra-large or “super-sized” meals
    • Split items with a friend
    • Order water instead of pop
    • Order a side salad instead of french fries
    • Order a fruit cup instead of ice cream, cookies or pie for a sweet dessert
    • Eat half of your order and take the rest home
  3. After one pair purchases a meal, have the group members switch roles.
  4. Following the activity, poll the class again to see how many people ordered each item this round. Create a graph of the Round 2 choices. Compare the first and second round graphs. Using the graphs, have students determine which round included the healthiest choices.

Discuss with the class which items were bought the most from Round 1 to Round 2 and which items were bought the least from Round 1 to Round 2. Did more students purchase water, fruits, and vegetables in Round 1 or Round 2? Identify in each round the amount of water, fruits and vegetables purchased. Explain to the students that it is OK to order food that does not have a lot of nutrients. But, it is important to try to eat nutrient-rich food and to stay active so that you are able to concentrate in school and interact well with others.

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