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Food and Nutrition

Be gone, chili cheese fries!

Between school, homework, extracurriculars, and, you know, breathing, it's no surprise that sometimes you end up eating pizza for dinner—and breakfast. Despite how tasty a New York slice can be, do you ever wonder how that pepperoni will affect you in, say, 10, 20, or 40 years from now? Considering 35.7% of Americans are obese, we're guessing you might not.

Given that scientific studies show that what you feed your body is 87% more important to your health, strength, and quality of life than your Twitter feed, Shmoop's all about helping you make good food choices. We’ll separate nutrition fact from fiction, and when we're done, you'll be healthier than a horse in a western.

In this course we'll

  • learn why an unbalanced diet and unhealthy lifestyle is the worst thing ever. (Chronic disease is not your friend.)
  • understand why what you put into your body can affect your mental, social, and emotional health.
  • recognize the macronutrients and micronutrients that impact your health and identify the foods that contain them.
  • research and calculate calorie and nutrient needs and understand how they differ depending on age, gender, physical activity level, or health status.
  • investigate what forces influence your food choices.
  • get comfy with "tools of the trade" like the Dietary Guidelines of 2010 and MyPlate.

This short course meets all of the California Department of Education's Nutrition and Physical Activity standards for grades 9-12.

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. Food and Nutrition

This short course is a jam-packed introduction to all things nutrition. From chronic disease, to nutrients, to reading food labels and media messages, our goal is to educate students on the value of nutritious eating and prompt them to take that first step toward a healthy lifestyle.

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 2: Nutrition Tetris

Life is like a box of...Tetris shapes.


T-spins, T-blocks, and T-spots. If you've ever played Tetris, you know how satisfying it is when your next block slots perfectly into place. We could play all day just for the thrill of watching that line at the bottom blink and disappear. (We've been told we've got too much time on our hands.)

Nutrition is a lot like Tetris, complete with the satisfaction that comes with getting rid of a particularly bulky load. It reminds us how nutrients—the building blocks of life—are processed by the digestive system to be used by the body. Each Tetris shape falls down to the space that it's meant to fit in. In the non-Tetris world, each nutrient goes to the body part it is meant to "fit" in. Then they disappear and you're hungry again. New game.

In the game of nutrition, we're all Tetris players because we're all eaters. We get the energy we need from the foods we eat (unless you're solar-powered, like one of these guys. Yes, food is fuel. No, that's not a metaphor. Food really fuels your body. But where does the fuel from food come from? (Hint: It's a lot closer to home than a Middle Eastern oil field.) This lesson breaks down food's nutrients to get at the energy in them, then shows you how your body does exactly the same thing.

  • Course Length: 3 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, College
  • Course Type: Short Course
  • Category:
    • Health, Physical Education, and Counseling
    • High School

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