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Review of:

Nutrition Essentials: Teaching Tools for Healthy Choices

Image courtesy of:
USDA/Food and Nutrition Service/Team Nutrition
Producer:USDA/Food and Nutrition Service/Team Nutrition
Date Produced:Jan 2007
  • CD-ROM
  • Booklet
  • Poster
  • Curriculum
  • PowerPoint Slides
  • Web Site
  • Middle School (9-12 yrs)
  • High School (13-18 yrs)
  • General Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Eating Patterns
  • Portion Sizes
  • Grains/Whole Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Dairy
  • Protein
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • food labeling
Description:Nutrition Essentials is a series of lessons will help you make healthful eating and physical activity choices. It provides several tools which give you information you need to make educated choices. Nutrition Essentials contains 5 posters: Food for a Day, How Much Do You Eat, Move It, MyPyramid, and Read It. Nutrition Essentials also includes an interactive CD, NutritionDecision, with games and nutrition education information.
Cost:Available to Team Nutrition schools
Ordering Info:http://tn.ntis.gov/
Web Site:http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/Resources/nutritionessentials.html


A. Use of MyPlate/MyPlate or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Material based substantially on MyPlate or 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Material is based completely on MyPyramid, and often refers to the MyPyramid website.
B. Scope
Scope of information is a mix of appropriate and less than appropriate concepts.

Too much information in each lesson. Very little guidance on how to present some of the information.
C. Purpose
Purpose of material clearly stated in title or introduction.
D. Organization
Material well-organized and major points presented clearly.
E. Accuracy
Information is accurate and recommendations current with content of MyPlate and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
F. Learner Background
Material assumes that reader has some background information.

Provides background information as well as supplemental "enrichment" lessons.
G. Learning Objectives
Learning objectives identifiable and met somewhat.

Objectives are too ambitious for each lesson.
H. Learning Activities, Projects, or Interactive Learning Tools
Material includes a variety of stimulating and interesting learning experiences, questions, projects, or suggestions for further action that will involve the reader.

Includes lesson plan booklet with handouts, posters, 2 CD's -- one with additional lessons and information, one with games for students to play
I. Objectivity/Sponsor Bias
Subject matter presented objectively and fairly. No brand name promotion or obvious sponsor bias.
J. Inclusion of learning objectives, learner activities, instructional aids, lesson plans, evaluation component, identification of required instructional materials, web site with additional materials.
Material includes five or more of the above.
K. Recipes (if included)
No recipes are included.
L. Recipes (if included)
Recipes do not include any nutrient analysis.
M. Instructional Resources
Instructor resources included with suggestions for enhancing the teaching process. Suggestions for follow-up learning activities/discussion questions included.

Lots of material -- needs more suggestions for really engaging the students. Lesson on label reading is the most interactive.
N. Credits, References and Resources (Including dates, publisher, etc.)
Current and complete credits, references, and resources listed.
O. Summary
All major ideas summarized or reviewed to reinforce key concepts; summaries easily identified.

A. Role Models
B. Multi-cultural Representation
Not applicable.

No photographs of people.
C. Different lifestyles and food patterns
Material reflects, but does not emphasize, a variety of values, practices, and/or food patterns representative of different lifestyles, cultures, and socioeconomic levels.

Some bias toward "traditional" American eating patterns. Some cultural foods mentioned.

Print Materials
A. Writing Style
Main ideas are clear and flow smoothly.
B. Writing Approach
Material is easy to read but does not personally involve the reader. Limited use of negative wording (e.g., “Don't eat”). Active voice is used most of the time.

The teaching approach is fairly didactic and not "conversational"...some attempts at asking questions of the students, but could have more ideas for interactive discussions and activities.
C. Vocabulary
Vocabulary used is appropriate for intended audience. Minimizes use of technical terms and if used, are defined.

Includes a vocabulary and definitions section.
D. Supportive Illustrations
Illustrations are related to the material in some way. Most tables and graphs are as simple and easy to read as possible. In most tables and graphs, information is provided in a form requiring no further explanation.
E. Layout and Design
Color, design, and layout of material are attractive, and stimulate interest, without being too busy. There is good balance between print and blank space.
F. Visual Quality
Paper weight used is heavy enough so that print from one side cannot be seen on the other side. Text is written in a font size that is easy to read, and the main body is not written in capital letters.
G. Headings/Cueing Devices
Clear headings are provided for each topic area. Cueing devices (shading, boxes, arrows, etc.) are used to direct attention to key points.
H. Approximate Reading Level
Reading level is at 6th, 7th or 8th grade level.

Audiovisual Materials

A. Concept Presentation
Audio and/or visuals are mutually supportive to presentation of concepts.

Audio visuals include a CD with a PowerPoint and supplemental materials, as well as a CD with games. Games are OK.
B. Pace
Most of the visual presentation progresses at a pace that facilitates comprehension. Pacing of dialogue allows some time for absorbing concepts presented. Limited blank time provided.
C. Auditory Quality
Speaker, voice and music are clear; sound is audible; may be a few distracting audio effects or inconsistent quality.
D. Visual Quality
Visuals are clear and properly framed; graphics and titles are clearly visible; color, lighting, and editing enhance presentation of content.
E. Continuity
Continuity provides cohesiveness and smooth flow. Visuals in logical order. Auditory portion precisely matched with visual portion.

Web Sites
A. Currentness of Information
Web site information is current; there are no broken hyperlinks.

Web site is MyPyramid.gov and Team Nutrition.
B. Readability
Text size is adequate for viewing. Some portions of text difficult to read.
C. Navigation
Navigation through the web site is logical and aided by navigation buttons and a site map or search tool.

Overall Comments on Resource Reviewed

A. Positive Points of the Reviewed Resource:
Comprehensive teaching of MyPyramid. Good lesson on label reading, although could recommend bringing in more sample packages of foods kids commonly eat.
B. Points that Could Be Improved:
Lessons could include more ideas for active interaction/discussion/activities and ways to engage the learners. Need some questions to stimulate discussion and relate the content to real life situations of the learners.
C. General Comments
Good materials, too much to cover in each lesson .. may need to break it up into smaller pieces.
D. Overall Summary
Provides some good materials for classroom use. It is free for Team Nutrition schools and can be downloaded by all at the team nutrition website, however the games need to be ordered.

Reviewer Rating
Any opinions expressed about any resource in this web site (either expressly or implied) are solely and completely the responsibility of the reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.


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