5.7 Tuning in to good nutrition
Advertisers use a number of strategies to get us to buy the foods they are selling. This lesson plan, from the Food for Thought nutrition curriculum, asks students to think about these strategies, how they work, and how, by understanding these strategies, they can make informed decisions when they make food purchases.
- learn the “tricks of the trade” used by advertisers to persuade shoppers to buy their food products.
- learn that product packaging can make us want to buy a product.
- compare the food products advertised on television and in print ads to those recommended in “MyPyramid for Kids” and decide if they are healthy choices.
- “Food Advertising Strategies” from the Media Awareness Network
- “Be a Food Ad Detective” from Kidnetic.com
- Magazine or newspaper food and beverage advertisements
- Videos or DVDs with several food and/or beverage commercials – Note: Saturday morning programming aimed at children would be a good time to record commercials
- TV, VCR, or DVD player
- MyPyramid for kids poster
- Document courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Open as PDF (2 MB, 1 page)
- Be a TV food ad reviewer
- Provided by Nutrition Services Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health and published in the Food for Thought curriculum.
- Open as PDF (18 KB, 1 page)
- Ask students to describe a food or drink advertisement they recently saw. Using information from the “Food Advertising Strategies” webpage, discuss advertising “tricks of the trade.”
- Discussion questions:
- What is the purpose of food ads?
- What do companies include in their ads to sell their products?
- What are some ways ads try to catch your attention and sell the product?
- What does the ad seem to say that the product will do for you?
- Is it believable or do you believe it?
- How do the ads affect your thoughts about the product and whether you want to try it?
- Did the ad show people being physically active/getting some exercise?
- Would that be a good thing to show? Why?
- Distribute magazine or newspaper food and beverage advertisements to students. Discuss how companies also use packaging as another way to draw attention to the product and to attract consumers to it. Make a comparison of ads for a raw product and a corresponding processed/packaged one. Examples include apples/apple juice, potatoes/potato chips, corn/corn cereal. Compare the ad for apples (newspaper produce section) with the packaged product(s) that are made with apples. Discussion Questions:
- What is the same about each item?
- What is different?
- What do you like about each item?
- What do you dislike?
- Which one are you more likely to choose?
- How does the way the product looks or what’s on the package help form your opinion?
- What are some other things you see on food packages that might make you want the product? Examples are premiums, such as when there’s a prize inside the box or you can send for a product; being able to enter a sweepstakes or contest for a chance to win a prize; or being able to join a club of some type.
- Show the students the “Be a Food Ad Detective” webpage and review it with them. Distribute the “Be a TV Food Ad Reviewer” handout. Watch several recorded food and beverage commercials together and have students complete the handout for one of the commercials. Once they’ve completed the worksheet, ask them whether it changes the way they view food and drink ads and how they might react differently to ads in the future.
- Distribute the “MyPyramid for Kids” handout. Discuss where the products viewed in the ads fit into the pyramid.
Assessment can be made from the students’ handouts and active participation in the discussions about food advertising strategies.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Healthful Living Education (2006)
- Goal 4: The learner will apply knowledge and behavior self management skills to areas of nutrition and physical activity for healthy growth, development, and maintenance.
- Objective 4.08: Provide examples of how the media and advertisers use persuasive techniques to influence food purchasing decisions.
Information Skills (2000)
- Goal 2: The learner will IDENTIFY and USE criteria for excellence to evaluate information and formats.
- Objective 2.06: Recognize the power of media to influence.
- Next: Grade five lessons