Students will learn to identify the sugar content of a range of packaged foods and recipes by reading nutritional panels in this lesson. They will find recipes of favourite and new dishes and experiment with ways to make healthier choices.
- understand that packaged foods often have added sugars
- research alternatives with less added sugar
- understand how food options and choices have changed over time
- understand how food choices affect heart health, healthy kidneys, and lifestyle choices.
- interpret hidden sugars and how much sugar is deemed healthy
- analyse and discuss healthy meal alternatives that have less sugar.
Lesson guides and printables
Australian curriculum content descriptions:
Year 5 and 6 HPE:
- Investigate the role of preventive health in promoting and maintaining health, safety and wellbeing for individuals and their communities (ACPPS058)
Year 5 and 6 Design and Technologies:
- Investigate how and why food and fibre are produced in managed environments and prepared to enable people to grow and be healthy (ACTDEK021)
Syllabus outcomes: SLS3.13, ST3-11LW
Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability
Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 HPE achievement standards:
Students demonstrate fair play and skills to work collaboratively. They access and interpret health information and apply decision-making and problem-solving skills to enhance their own and others’ health, safety, and wellbeing. They perform specialised movement skills and sequences and propose and combine movement concepts and strategies to achieve movement outcomes and solve movement challenges. They apply the elements of movement when composing and performing movement sequences.
Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 Design and Technologies achievement standards:
By the end of Year 6, students explain how social, ethical, technical, and sustainability considerations influence the design of solutions to meet a range of present and future needs. They explain how the features of technologies influence design decisions and how digital systems are connected to form networks. Students describe a range of needs, opportunities, or problems and define them in terms of functional requirements. They collect and validate data from a range of sources to assist in making judgments.
This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Sugar By Half
Time required: 75+ mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Facilitate a video analysis and class discussion, supervise groups and provide guidance during the activity.
- Access to a device per student or small group, to research healthy food and meal alternatives
- A divide capable of projecting the Nutrition Information Panel, explaining how to read nutrition panels
- Collection of food/food packaging – see teacher preparation
- Student Worksheets – one copy per student
This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
These lessons were developed in partnership with SugarByHalf and the Australian Dental Association. Guardians of the Gums was written by Bee Healthy Stories; if you would like to see more of their stories, head to beehealthystories.com.au.
SugarByHalf (https://www.sugarbyhalf.com/) promotes action to reduce sugar-related diseases so that we can live better, stronger and healthier lives.
Their message is simple: to reduce added sugar consumption by half. Eating too much added sugar is a key driver of serious health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, dementia and mental health conditions. A poor diet also puts children behind their peers, affecting brain development, sleep and ability to learn. Poor diet choices ultimately mean that this generation of children could be the first in modern history to live shorter lives than their parents.
Much of the added sugar in our diet comes from the processed foods and drinks we consume. On average, we consume 14-16 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Teenagers consume more than 20 teaspoons per day. The World Health Organisation says we should limit our daily added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons for good health. To put that in perspective, there are 4 grams of sugar in one teaspoon. If something has 20 grams of sugar, that's 5 teaspoons of sugar.
This English lesson focuses on developing the skills and knowledge students need to critically consider messages about food and drink they are exposed to, thereby equipping them to be able to make healthy choices.
Talking about Health
- Be mindful of students who may experience weight stigma. Some students may be sensitive to conversations around weight, body size or shape. Terms including obesity, weight issues, weight-problem and fat can be stigmatising for some people because they assign blame. It is important to note individual preferences around language vary. Research has shown using the terms ‘weight’, ‘weight gain’, ‘healthy weight’, ‘unhealthy weight’, and ‘high BMI’ are preferred as better alternatives.
- Be mindful about how you use the word ‘diet’. We recommend focussing students on the positive impacts of healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyles which help us to have stronger bodies and minds, feel good and sleep well.
- Steer students away from any focus on appearances by communicating that appearance does not determine your worth. We recommend the fact sheets from the Butterfly Foundation on body image tips at
- Avoid using labels such as obese or diabetic. Refer to people living with diabetes, people living with cancer, people with high BMI etc.