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A Fun Way to Learn How Cutting Calories Leads to Weight Loss

Lesson Title: A Fun Way to Learn How Calories Leads to Weight Loss

Equipment Needed:

• “Joe’s Cutting Calories” PowerPoint Presentation (this is optional but you can get it for free at:

• calculators

• Joe’s Cutting Calories” worksheet (1 for each pair of students) I will cut and paste them here, but they will be in a better format at the above website for free!

• food label sheets (1 for each pair of students) I will cut and paste them here, but they will be in a better format at the above website for free!

• weight scale and height chart to check own height (I have just used a sharpie and put the height chart on the side on my bulletin board so I always have it :)

Pre-Lesson To Do:

• print worksheets-enough for 1 sheet for each pair of students

• print food labels-enough for 1 sheet for each pair of students (I have these in protector sheets)


1. I introduce my nutrition unit with the CDC’s obesity rates by state PowerPoint. Download it at: (look on the square box that’s titled, ”
Download the Maps” and click on “PowerPoint Slide Presentation.”) It’s an incredible discussion-starter so I follow it up with asking my students:


2. “Why do you think Americans are becoming more and more overweight?” Students can turn and share with their table partner if you have time, and/or have a class discussion


3. Go over the reasons too many Americans are overweight slides on PowerPoint. When you get to the portion sizes information, you can show the Portion Distortion Slide Show at: . I have some real magazine ads I show and discuss how the diet and weight loss ads are deceiving and unhealthy. (later in the PowerPoint I will show how it’s literally impossible for most people to lose “10 lbs. in 10 days” if they want to lose fat.)

4. Next I discuss the three main nutrients: Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. I cover that idea that the bottomline to weight loss or gain is calories in or out (and family genetics)

5. Ask students if anyone knows how many calories they should eat. Many will say “2000″ so I discuss how the food label says 2000 but that is an “average.” I tell them we are going to figure out EXACTLY how many calories they need, but first they must get their height and weight. Stress the importance of the correct weight; it’s needed for almost every formula in nutrition.

6. They get height and weight on own around your room. When everyone is done, talk about the weight range chart and that I don’t want anyone leaving depressed…rather be motivated. If they want to lose weight they should rather think of it as “eating healthy” and choose a plan they can do for LIFE.

7. Go through formula for calories with one student example on the board. After everyone is done I take the time to walk around and check each students (you’ll find several mistakes) Next I cover the healthy way to drop weight at 1-2 lbs. per week, the “set point theory” and “yo-yo” dieting.”

8. Show how it’s unhealthy and impossible to lose 10 pounds in 10 days like some ads claim.

9. Hand out “Joe’s Cutting Calories” worksheet (cut and pasted below…) and 1 set of food labels for each pair of students. (also see below) Go over the direction PowerPoint slides for “Joe’s Cutting Calories” worksheet (you may need to finish the worksheet tomorrow.) Point out that two of the labels have more than 1 serving per container and Joe is eating the whole thing so they’ll need to multiply the calories by how ever many servings there are. There are no right or wrong answers and they can drop 4 items or 1 item, it’s their choice.


10. Students will discuss with their partner how they want to have Joe drop 500 calories. When everyone is done I go around the room and have students share out. I question why they chose the foods they did and why Joe might have a hard time with their solution, or why it is a good idea, etc.

11. I conclude with the PowerPoint slides on how Joe could actually just have 1/2 a box of Mac n’ Cheese and he could do that for life…How it’s all about healthy choices you can sustain, and not about a fad diet . I also point out how Joe could double his weight loss with EXCERCISE. We’ll look more at exercise in a later lesson (*see lesson link below).


12. If time, you have students reflect and set their own goals on eating healthy. This would be a good time to give my “Eating Healthy For Life” survey (*see link below). I also included a couple of slides to direct students to keep a food journal. You could use this to do the igoogle lesson in the future (*see below).

13. Homework could include filling out the goal sheet in the “Eating Healthy for Life” for a week (see link below) or you could take students to the computer lab and show them a cool calorie counter on igoogle and they could keep track of calories for a week. (*see lesson link below). Or, I also have a “Fat and Sugar Homework” assignment (*see link below).

“Joe’s Cutting Calories” Worksheet:

Names:_________________ + ______________________ Per:_______

3500 calories = 1lb.

Joe is a 16-year old teenager. He is 6’0 and weighs 250 lbs. Here is his typical food consumption for 1 day:

Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 1 piece of toast, a glass of orange juice

Snack – 1 Snickers candy bar

Lunch – 2 pieces of pepperoni pizza, 2 bread sticks, and one cup of milk

Snack- a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner – 1 Burrito, 1 cup of rice, a salad, and 1 20 oz. Coke

Late night snack- 1 microwave popcorn bag

Joe wants to lose weight in a healthy way and he has heard that if he drops 500 calories a day from what he usually eats, he will drop 3500 calories and that equals 1 lb. so he can lose 1 lb. a week.

Obviously Joe’s daily food intake isn’t as low in fat as it could be and he is missing some important foods (like fruits and vegetables), and it would be smart for him to substitute some healthier foods, but for starters, let’s focus on the foods Joe could cut out or cut down on in his diet that would equal 500 calories, without changing any other eating habits right now.

1. Tell Joe what food(s) he could realistically cut out to equal 500 calories per day to lose 1 lb. per week. (there is no specific right answer since 500 calories can be cut in many different ways…) You can choose a whole food item to cut, and/or or have him lower the portion size of any item he’s eating. (you don’t have to choose 4!)

Food(s):___________________________ Calories:_______________

Food(s):___________________________ Calories:_______________

Food(s):___________________________ Calories:_______________

Food(s):___________________________ Calories:_______________

Total Calories Cut: _________

2. If Joe drops 1 lb. a week for 4 months, how much weight will he lose?

3. If Joe decides to start exercising on top of cutting those 500 calories, and he begins to walk to school and home everyday (and he’ll walk on the weekends too), he will burn another 500 calories per day.

4. How many lbs. can Joe lose in 4 months? (hint: now he is dropping 1,000 calories per day x 7 days per week and is losing 2 lbs. per week)

**You can download the exact food labels from my free lesson on my website above which will help students learn to read food labels, (since they wouldn’t cut and paste here) but I have included the information on the labels so this lesson is complete as is:

Microwave Popcorn
Serving Size: 1/3 of a bag
Servings Per Container: 3

Kraft Mac n’ Cheese
Serving Size: 1/3 of a box
Servings Per Container: 3
Calories: 380

Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 30

Bread Sticks:
Serving Size: 1
Calories: 98

Snickers Candy Bar
Serving Size: 1 bar
Calories: 280

Pepperoni Pizza
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 290

Serving Size: 20 oz.
Calories: 220

Serving Size: 1
Calories: 75

Have Fun!! My website has other free and for sale lessons:

or check out my full profile at:

You will find these other nutrition lessons for free and for sale: (just do a search for these titles)

*A Fun Way to Learn How to Eat from All Food Groups Lesson: PwrPoint +

*Lesson Plan: How Calories are Burned through Exercise Worksheet

*Lose Weight, Get Healthier Plan: Individual Habits Survey + Check off

*iGoogle Calorie Counter Worksheet: Learn How to Use Nutrition Gadgets

*Fat and Sugar Experiment Lesson: Measure crisco + sugar into baggies!

Nutrition Facts
Board Game: Fun and
Educational! (Word +
PDF formats)

Food Label Reading
Lesson + PwrPt: How FREE!!!
to Know if a Product
is Healthy

Gaining Muscle
Weight Brochure:
Eating Healthy to
Put on Weight

Food Label Scavenger
Hunt Lesson:
Worksheet + 42 Food
Labels to Read

Calcium Lesson for
Teens: PowerPoint,
and Follow-up

How to Improve Body
Image: A Brochure
for Teens

Why Water is Good
For You and a Check
Off Sheet for Extra

Calorie Counting
Website: Worksheet
to go with great
Calorie Website

Health Lesson:
Research Own Family
Medical History +
Genetic Diseases

Comments / Notes