Lesson 1 – Part A:WHERE DOES YOUR FOOD COME FROM? and FOOD QUIZ
Lesson 1 - Part B: NUTRITION
Lesson 1 - Part C: SEED GERMINATION EXPERIMENT
WHERE DOES YOUR FOOD COME FROM?
Some foods come from plants, and some come from animals. Other foods are made in factories or shops, and these are called processed foods.
Can you name the foods in the pictures below, and do you know whether they are from plants, or animals, or processed foods?
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Your daily choices about eating, exercising, relaxing and sleeping all influence how you will feel tomorrow and your health risks later in life. It’s your choices today, and every day, that all add up to decide how healthy you’ll be.
Eating well is a good place to start. It can help you to feel well, give you the energy you need, and help you cope with occasional challenges, from being sick with a cold to lack of sleep. Over your lifetime, it’s very clear that healthy eating reduces the risk of major sickness and diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and can help you live a long and healthy life.
Research shows that to be healthy we need to eat a variety of foods each day, especially plenty of different types of fruit and vegetables. This helps our bodies receive enough of the nutrients essential for good health and well-being. Primary school children need 1-2 serves of fruit and 3-4 serves of vegetables every day. A serve of vegetables is approximately half a cup for children.
EAT A VARIETY OF FOODS
Choose fruit and vegetables that cover all parts of the colour spectrum (colours of the rainbow). The medical evidence linking fruits and vegetables to good health is overwhelming. And now, so too is the evidence that organic fruits and vegetables deliver even more nutrients per serving, including all-important protective antioxidants.
Antioxidants in food are tiny, but very powerful, compounds that protect the cells in your body from damage and disease. Some antioxidants are vitamins; some are in the natural colours of foods, and some protect particular organs in your body. To see how antioxidants work, look at the picture of a cut apple below.
The apple half on the left in the image above has been brushed with lemon juice, which contains the antioxidant vitamin C. Compare this to the apple half on the right that has started to discolour as air damages the cells in the fruit.
Fruit is a great source of vitamins and energy-rich carbohydrates. Fantastic choices are apples, oranges, bananas, blueberries, mangoes, grapes, and basically any fruits that you enjoy!
Most vegetables are 'super foods', packed with nutrients to keep you healthy. Eat a variety of vegetables every day. Try to eat a variety of different colours and types:
# Dark green vegetables - spinach and
# Orange vegetables - sweet potato,
pumpkin, carrots and corn
# Purple vegetables - beetroot and egg plant
# Starchy vegetables - potatoes, sweet potato
# Cruciferous vegetables - broccoli,
cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
# Salad vegetables - lettuce, tomato,
cucumber and capsicum
Choosing organic food is a simple way to cut down your contact with poisonous farm chemicals and food additives, and boost your eating of nutrients. Organic food isn’t a luxury. It’s how food’s meant to be, and an easy way to eat your way to a lifetime of good health.
Getting into the habit of choosing organic food whenever possible will ensure that you and your family get the nutritional benefits nature provides. It is the foundation of a lifestyle that will promote lifelong health.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLANTS
You know that fruits and vegetables come from plants, but did you know that all the foods you eat rely on plants in some way?
Nuts, lentils and baked beans are the seeds of plants. Bread, pasta and cereals are made from seeds of a group of plants, called grains. Without grains and grass to eat, animals and birds that provide us with meat, eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese would die. Small fish need water plants for food and breeding – without small fish larger fish that feed on small fish would not exist, either.
Because plants are necessary for our survival, it is important to know how to keep plants healthy. You can learn to do this in your school garden, while having fun and enjoying the good food that you grow. This first step in plant growth is germination (germ-in-A-shun).
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HOW SEEDS GERMINATE
Each seed, no matter how tiny, contains a program that tells it what type of seed it is – exactly how it will grow – and the conditions it needs for growth. It has enough stored energy to grow a root and its first leaves (seed leaves) without the help of soil or plant food (fertiliser). All you need to do to start the program running is – simply add water!
You can watch this process in your classroom. You will need:
Some vegetable seeds
A clean glass jar
A small quantity of water
A cupboard or box to block
Most seeds germinate when covered with soil and need dark surroundings for germination. Some seeds, including, lettuce, dill, German chamomile, and petunia germinate when close to the soil surface and need some light for germination.
Form the cotton wool into a pad that is slightly smaller than the mouth of the jar. Place the cotton wool on the saucer and gently add water until the cotton wool is wet, but not flooded.
Sprinkle a few seeds on top of the cotton wool – not too many, or you will end up with a tangled mess! If the seeds are tiny, use the blunt end of a pencil to gently press them onto the cotton wool so that they are in contact with moisture.
Cover the cotton wool with the upturned jar to create a miniature glasshouse and prevent the cotton wool from drying. Seeds need constant dampness for germination to occur. If seeds dry during this very important period – germination will fail. Place the experiment into a dark cupboard, or cover it with a box. After 3 days, start checking on the seeds'progress – but don't allow too much light to reach the seeds!
Some seeds germinate very quickly, while others are programmed to take longer. Most vegetable seeds will germinate in 7 to 10 days, in warm indoor conditions.
If the seeds are kept in complete darkness, the first leaves to appear will be yellow instead of green. The reason for this is that plants need light as well as certain minerals to produce green colouring in their leaves.
As soon as the seeds show these yellow seed leaves, place the experiment in a well-lit area – out of direct sunlight. In a day or two, the tiny leaves will turn green.
You can see from the amount of growth how much energy and minerals the parent plant had packed into each seed. When saving seed, always select seed from strong, healthy plants to ensure that seedlings have enough food for a healthy start.
Once seeds have germinated, they need more than water to continue healthy growth, and you can watch this happen in another experiment.
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