Technology Strand

Food Frenzy


Lesson Overview:

We get our calories from fat calories and nonfat calories. The diets of many people often include too many fat calories. In this lesson, students will take advantage of technology to examine calories and to plan an appropriate menu. First, with help from the Internet, students investigate nutritional information for fast food restaurants, creating a spreadsheet of information on various items on their menus. Within their spreadsheets, they must tally calories, amount of fat and percentages of daily totals. In the second part of the lesson, students must plan a menu for a week spent on the Appalachian Trail. The core lesson (Steppin' Into Fitness to Find an Energy Balance) provided students with a sense of their individual caloric needs, including the number of calories they need when hiking. By revisiting this information and by exploring websites devoted to hiking, students can develop a menu that provides them with appropriate caloric intake for a week of hiking.


Connection to Core Lesson:

The core lesson (Steppin' into Fitness to Find an Energy Balance) centers on having students determine their individual caloric needs in a typical day. The lesson also creates a scenario in which students figure out how long it might take to hike the entire Appalachian Trail and how many calories they would burn doing so. This lesson looks more closely at diet, particularly one required for a hike along the Appalachian Trail.


Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards

National Standards


Learning Objectives:
By completing this lesson, students should:
  • Create spreadsheets to help them recognize fast food choices are improving, but what we choose to eat normally may not be the healthiest choice.
  • Know making healthy food choices will help them maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.
  • Realize that to consume a high-calorie meal, a certain amount of exercise is needed to negate the calories consumed.
  • Create a menu of healthy foods that could provide the necessary caloric intake for a weeklong hike.


Materials Needed:


Suggested Lesson Steps:

1. Have students choose a meal from their favorite fast food restaurant.  The meal should include: a sandwich, a side item, drink and a dessert. Tell them to be specific about writing exactly what they chose to eat. Visiting these Internet sites will provide nutritional information on favorite fast food meals.

2. Using an Excel spreadsheet, (similar to the table below) students should record their findings.

  • Enter the calories in column B and fat calories in column C.
  • To figure out nonfat calories, write a formula to subtract the fat calories from the total calories. (HINT: B2-C2)
  • To figure out the percentage of calories from fat, divide fat calories by calories. (HINT: = C2/B2) Format the cells in Column E for percentage.
  • To figure out total calories, total fat calories, and total nonfat calories, you can use the AutoSum button or write a formula. To figure out the total percentage of fat, divide total calories by total fat calories.

3. Ask students to recall their daily calorie calculations from the core lesson. If they need to recalculate, the formula is:

  • Men: BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) - (6.8 X age in years)
  • Women: BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) - (4.7 X age in years)

(1 inch = 2.54 cm and 1 lb. = 0.453 kg)

Students should then multiply their total by the variable that applies to their level of daily physical activity:

  • Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (little/no exercise, time spent on computer, TV, video games)
  • Lightly Active = BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week)
  • Moderately Active = BMR X 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week)
  • Very Active = BMR X 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk.)
  • Extremely Active = BMR X 1.9 (hard daily exercise/sports training)

4. Students should compare this total against the number of calories consumed with their fast food meal -- i.e., how many calories would they have left for the other two meals of the day? In small groups, have students go to the following website (or search for others) to find out about healthy eating: Super Tracker

Using this information, they should plan a healthy meal based on their guidelines. Again, they should choose a sandwich, a side item, drink and a dessert, placing their findings into an Excel spreadsheet and providing the same information that they did for the fast food meal: calories, fat calories, non-fat calorie and percentage of fat.

5. Returning to the core lesson, ask students to share information about the Appalachian Trail scenario -- what it is, how long the trail is, where it stretches, etc. Further, ask students to recall how far they could expect to hike per day, as well as their calorie calculations for a weeklong hike. (Make sure that students factor in the added weight of their backpacks to their BMR.)

6. Still working in small groups, students should develop a menu of healthy foods that meets their daily calorie consumption for a week on the trail. The menu should take into account the group will have to carry their food and the food will need to last for a week. For tips on hiking smart, students should visit the following website: Tips On Hiking Smart

7. Have the groups present their menus, along with estimates of calories burned each day and miles traveled each day.

8. To conclude the lesson, have students complete the Food Frenzy Recall worksheet, transferring the appropriate data from their spreadsheets and then answering the remaining questions.


Assessment Criteria:

  1. Class participation.
  2. Excel spreadsheets.
  3. The Food Frenzy Recall worksheet.​​