Smart Servings

Sometimes it is not WHAT you eat, but HOW MUCH. Choose smart servings. Added fat and sugar content are a clue to serving size.

Abilene High School Kids Read Food Labels and Discover Smart Servings

Activity Idea: Portion Sizes - It Depends on the Food You are Eating
Source: Healthy Kids Challenge, Health Works! Smart Servings booklet
Description: Kids learn recommended serving sizes of foods in various food groups by making a display (or surveying) and teaching others.
Grade: 4-5
  • 4 medium-size oranges
  • 2 large baked potatoes (each with 2 Tbsp. fat-free sour cream)
  • 1 small (1.69 oz.) package of M&M® candies
  • 18 potato chips


  1. Show kids the foods above and ask which is higher in calories. Explaining the answer surprises many people: the foods all have about the same number of calories.
  2. Talk about how the oranges and potatoes are high in fiber and have no added fat or sugar (the sour cream is fat-free), while the candy and chips have a very high percentage of sugar and /or fat.
  3. Point out how words are one thing, but what a difference it makes when you can SEE serving size comparisons!
  4. Explain to kids they are going to use the information to teach others. Assign kids to ask a peer, another teacher, administrator or parent to guess the answer. Keep track of the responses and bring them back for a group discussion.
  5. Discuss the responses as a group. Ask students to think of a higher fat or sugar food they usually eat or drink more than twice a week. Then have them write down a goal of how they will choose smaller portions of that food OR choose it less often.

To use as a display:
This display is great for parent-teacher conferences, health fairs, or to set up in the cafeteria.

  1. Make a display card that reads: Which has more calories, 4 medium-size fresh oranges, 2 large baked potatoes-each with 2 Tbsp. fat-free sour cream, 1 small package of M&M® candies or 18 potato chips?
  2. Place the food items on a table and label each.
  3. Make an answer card that reads: They are about the same. But look at all the oranges you get compared to 18 chips or 1 small bag of candy! On one end, tape the answer care (face down) on the table, so it has to be lifted to see the answer.
  4. Either have someone monitor the display or have kids read a display card and answer the question about which food, in the amounts given, has the most calories. If done as a group activity, have a leader poll the audience for the right answer. Participants vote for the item they think has the most calories.

This activity is found on page 11 of the Health Works! Smart Servings booklet. For more activity ideas like the one above, check out HKC resource materials. See the Online Store for descriptors and to view the Table of Content and booklet sample pages.