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Saving Money While Eating Healthy (Atlantic Canada)

Subject Area: Family Studies

Links to the Atlantic Canada Family Studies Curriculum Outcomes:
  • GCO: Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of their personal responsibility in making healthy food choices.
  • GCO: Students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of their personal responsibility in food preparation.
Brief Overview of the Lesson:  

After a brief discussion about Canada’s Food Guide recommendations, the students will be asked to plan three healthy meals for a day. They will estimate the cost of each meal. As each group shares their meal plans with the class, the teacher will record the various costs of each group’s meals. A discussion will follow about why one meal costs less than another.

Estimated Time Required for Implementation:

One period

Materials Needed:

Chart paper, marker, copies of Canada’s Food Guide Servings and Daily Recommendations (provided)

Suggested Implementation Strategy:
  • Begin by asking the class what are the four food groups.
  • Ask if they know how many servings of each group Canada’s Food Guide recommends for a teenager each day.
  • Divide the students into groups of 4-5 and hand out a copy of the Food Guide provided to each group.
  • Explain how to use the guide and then ask each group to use the guide to plan three healthy meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are to estimate the cost of each meal.
  • Each group will share their meal plans while the teacher records on chart paper the estimated costs of each meal.
  • Lead a discussion about why one meal cost less than another – for example, the group chose to drink water instead of juice, they chose to have beans for dinner instead of meat, they chose a piece of fruit for dessert rather than cookies, etc.
  • Ask the each group to give at least one suggestion of how they could change their meal plan in order to make it healthy and/or cheaper.
  • Ask the class what they learned about saving money while eating healthy.
Possible Links to the Home Program:
  • Shopping List – Activities: Local – Ages 11-13
  • Teens Plan a Meal – Activities: Local – Ages 14-16
Extended Learning Opportunities:
  • Go to the grocery store, purchase the foods needed for one of the meals, and tally up the actual cost of the meal.
  • Chose one of the meals, and have the class prepare the meal.




Examples of one Food Guide Serving/Recommended Number of Servings for Teens per Day

Vegetables and Fruit  

Saving Money While Eating Healthy Atlantic Grade 7 School feb18_Page_3_Image_0001

  • 125 mL (½ cup) fresh, frozen or canned
    vegetable or fruit or 100% juice                                                                                  
  • 250 mL (1 cup) leafy raw vegetables or                                                                                   
  • 1 piece of fruit


Grain Products  6

Saving Money While Eating Healthy Atlantic Grade 7 School feb18_Page_3_Image_0002

  • 1 slice (35 g) bread or ½ bagel (45 g)
  • ½ pita (35 g) or ½ tortilla (35 g)
  • 125 mL (½ cup) cooked rice, pasta, or couscous
  • 30 g cold cereal or 175 mL (¾ cup) hot cereal
  • ½ muffin, 2 cookies, 10 crackers (35 g)


Milk and Alternatives  3-4

Saving Money While Eating Healthy Atlantic Grade 7 School feb18_Page_3_Image_0003

  • 250 mL (1 cup) milk or fortified soy beverage
  • 175 g (¾ cup) yogurt
  • 200 mL  yogurt drinks
  • 50 g (1 ½ oz.) cheese
  • 125 mL, ½ cup   pudding/custard  (made with milk)


Meat and Alternatives  2-3

Saving Money While Eating Healthy Atlantic Grade 7 School feb18_Page_3_Image_0004

  • 125 mL (½ cup) cooked fish, shellfish, poultry or lean meat
  • 175 mL (¾ cup) cooked beans
  • 2 eggs
  • 30 mL (2 Tbsp) peanut butter
  • 60 mL, ¼ cup nuts, shelled
  • 175 mL, ¾ cup lentils
  • 175 mL, ¾ cup tofu


Choosing Beverages

  • Children 13 years and older should drink 8 to 10 glasses (2 litres) of water each day, especially when exercising or on a hot day.
  • Milk, fortified soy beverages and 100% juice are also healthy options.
  • Some beverages may contain caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that affects children more than adults due to their smaller body weights. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, colas, and some energy drinks.
  • Limit intake of soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, punches, sweetened hot and cold beverages and alcohol. These beverages can be high in calories and low in nutrients.