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U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Make Your Calories Count-Use the Nutrition Facts Label for Healthy Weight Management

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


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Computer(s), Internet access, projector, and speakers (for class presentation)

Activity Description

In this activity, students are introduced to the nutrition facts label through the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) interactive learning program "Make Your Calories Count." For simplicity, the program presents two nutrients that should be limited (saturated fat and sodium) and two nutrients that should be consumed in adequate amounts (fiber and calcium). Students learn, then apply the concepts in a fun and interactive way.


  1. This activity should be part of a unit on nutrition and healthy eating. Students should be familiar with basic nutrition concepts and vocabulary prior to this activity.
  2. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the material covered in the interactive training.
  3. Bring in a non-perishable packaged food item from home to introduce the topic.


  1. Display the non-perishable food item you brought in from home. Ask the students if this is a healthy food item. Why or why not? How do they know? (the nutrition facts label)
  2. Introduce the Nutrition Facts label and pass around the food item. Ask students how many of them look at nutrition facts labels when shopping. What information do they look for?
  3. Display the interactive training module at the Example Web Site (above) using the digital projector and introduce the topic: "Make Your Calories Count: Use the Nutrition Facts Label for Healthy Weight Management"
  4. Discuss the meaning of the idiom "to make something count" as it is used in the phrase "make your calories count."
  5. Have students volunteer to read aloud from the slides. Discuss the information contained on each slide as a class and ask comprehension questions to ensure understanding. Have students think-pair-share the answers to the questions posed on the slides. Repeat throughout the entire interactive training. NOTE: For the interactive serving-size slides (potato chips, soda, cookies), have students come up to the teacher computer and drag the lever to show how many servings and corresponding calories they typically eat.
  6. After completing the interactive training, have students bring in a packaged food item from home and prepare a presentation for the class in which they share the following information: number of servings, calories per serving, number of servings and calories they typically eat, and the %DV of saturated fat, sodium, fiber and calcium contained in one serving.

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  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (1.6) Understand consumer protection measures

Basic Communication

  • (2.7) Understand aspects of society and culture

Basic Communication

  • (3.5) Understand basic principles of health maintenance

Basic Communication

  • (6.4) Compute with percents, rate, ratio, and proportion
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.