Who Makes Your Food and Drink Choices? | Ophea Teaching Tools

    Who Makes Your Food and Drink Choices?

    Activity Card 1
    45 Minutes
    Topics: Body Image, Critical Thinking, Food and Drink Choices, Media Influences, Media Literacy
    Activity Overview

    Children will examine the influences of media on personal food and drink choices.


    The group educator will observe children’s demonstrated application of knowledge related to influences on healthy eating and drinking choices.


    Markers, Multiple samples of food and drink advertisements (print or television), Paper

    Minds On

    Using the Think-Pair-Share Strategy, have children work in pairs to think about what influences people of all ages to make certain food and drink choices, for example:

    • nutrient fact tables
    • prizes in cereal boxes
    • low fat content
    • cost
    • availability
    • family preferences
    • celebrity endorsement
    • religious or cultural beliefs

    Next, children work in pairs to explore ways in which these choices might impact their physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

    Pairs share their responses with the large group. Consider recording group responses, making connections between the impact of the various influences and children's physical, emotional, and mental well-being for reference later in the activity.

    Ask the large group of children whether they believe that media plays a role in personal food and drink choices, and, if so, how.


    Working as a large group, children brainstorm persuasive techniques used by the media, for example:

    • celebrity endorsement
    • use of words such as “free”
    • nutrition claims
    • idealized body images
    • promoting fad diets or quick weight loss
    • use of brand-name items in movies or television shows
    • the appearance of a product being the “in” thing

    Children divide into small groups of 3-4. Provide small groups with different print advertisements, and have children identify

    • what the advertisement is for
    • who the target audience is
    • what persuasive techniques are used
    • whether they believe the techniques are effective and why

    Have groups share their responses with the class.

    Continuing their work in small groups, children should brainstorm how these media influences can be evaluated so they can make healthier choices, for example, by:

    • critically examining the plausibility of the claim
    • checking whether there is information in the advertisement to verify the claim
    • critically examining the reasons for celebrity endorsements
    • asking for information about product ingredients

    Have children work in their small groups to create an advertisement for a healthy food or drink, using some of the same persuasive techniques discussed throughout the activity.

    Display advertisements and have children complete a Gallery Walk, viewing all advertisements as they walk throughout the room.

    Children complete an Exit Card by answering the following question:

    “What might you consider when you see a professional athlete drinking an energy drink in a commercial?”