3. Learn: Fat and Sugar

Learning objective:

  • To understand the importance of Fat & Sugar (success criteria: I can explain the benefit of eating fat and sugar in limited quantity; I can explain what happens when we often eat too much fat and sugar)

Resources:

Read out loud: Less added sugar!

Children running

Ms Fletcher taught Year 3 students in her school. She loved teaching and especially loved teaching her students. They had so much fun learning new things together- addition, subtraction, the life of plants, and also some art. She often took them out in the park to learn. She made her students collect leaves, flowers and fruits to learn more about nature. One day, she noticed that some of her students were finding it hard to run across the park while collecting leaves. Some chose to run very little while others seemed tired. They quickly snacked on some biscuits and crisps for some energy.

Ms Fletcher returned to class with several thoughts in her mind. Why were her students feeling tired? Why were they not running across to collect the plants? Aren’t children always more energetic than adults? Ms Fletcher was worried because she loved her students so much. After some thinking, Ms Fletcher decided to observe her students for a few days and then came to the conclusion that what the students were eating had to change. They had to include more bread, pasta, cereals, fruits and vegetables in their diet and not just eat crisps and biscuits. She announced a contest.

The name of the contest was:

Less added sugar

All students had to reduce the amount of sugar and increase fruits, vegetables and pasta and cereals, she told them. She divided them into teams and told them that the ones who eat the least amount of sugar at the end of one week, would be winners. She gave them a tracker to keep check. The students were confused! Ella asked aloud, “Are cakes allowed Ms Fletcher?” “Not if they have sugar in them”, answered Ms Fletcher. “Is sweetened milk ok?” asked Rebecca. “Not if sweetened with sugar!” came the reply. “No bananas even?” asked Tom. “Yes, you can eat bananas because they are naturally sweet.” Aha, said the students, Ms Fletcher wants us to not eat any added sugar. Naturally sweet foods are allowed. The students were excited and thought this contest was a ‘piece of cake!’ Every team and every student was confident of winning.

Lauren went home and told her mother than she couldn’t eat the chocolate pastry and ate two apples instead. Patrick chose to have a fruit smoothie instead of sugary milk and Valerie had some plain yogurt instead of the flavoured one. They learnt about the labels on food packets and identified if sugar was present or not. Out went biscuits and cookies, in came freshly baked bread. Sugary flavoured breakfast cereals were replaced by plain cereal with dried fruits and milk. Ms Fletcher knew that students would eat a biscuit or two that had sugar and might even have a candy. She was ok with that and knew that her students could have it once in awhile but not every day because sugary food can be addictive.

Ms Fletcher began to notice that students energy levels had improved slightly. They were quicker in the park and sat upright in class. They ate fruits, nuts and plain cereal instead of cakes, muffins, crisps and cookies. The students were introduced to the idea of eating less sugar but she really wanted the habit to stay. She waited patiently until the end of the week.

Finally, the big day arrived. Students took out their trackers and checked how many of them had eaten sugar and how many had stayed away from it completely. While they began to score their sheets and winning teams were emerging, students began to get really excited and some of them regretted that one slice of cake or one bottle of sugary milk they had had. Before announcing the winning team Ms Fletcher told the students that she wanted them to know and experience other foods which are sweet but also healthy. “As you are growing up”, she said, “you will need a lot of energy which you can get from food. But it is necessary to pay attention to the kind of energy we are giving our body”. The winning team was announced and the students cheered on. The contest ended with everyone celebrating with a glass of strawberry smoothie.