Watt Watchers of Texas: Texas is Too Good To Waste™

Food Activities

At its basic level, food is a form of energy. Our bodies convert chemical energy stored in food to kinetic energy through a series of complex physical and chemical processes. In turn, this kinetic energy powers our muscles and lets us move. Beyond food, agricultural operations, processing, packaging, transporting, refrigerating, and preparing food all require energy. All of that energy goes somewhere, and only some of it is used. The rest is waste. As a result, one of the ways to save energy is to save food waste and other energy waste in the food system from the fields to your plate.
Make a Daily Menu

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a recommended daily value of 2000 Calories (kcal) across all food labels. From this number and some handy math, manufacturers print the percentage of the daily value of each nutrient provided by the food. However, the 2000 Calorie diet is only a simple benchmark for food standards and labeling, and not always appropriate for every lifestyle, health condition, and individual.

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Looking at Food Labels

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the requirements for food labels leaving manufacturers several years to comply. As a result there may be two different food labels on the products around classrooms, lunchrooms, and homes. Both labels have the same information about food, but the format differs slightly.

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Energy Density of Foods

The simplest way to think about the relationship between energy and food is to recognize that food is a form of energy. Food stores chemical energy that bodies convert into kinetic energy to activate muscle power.

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Working Through Food Deserts

Students should also create a detailed map of food resources in their area, classified by type and annotated with accessibility and time constraints. Then, they should evaluate whether their neighborhood or district is a food desert. How does the students' map compare with the Food Access Research Atlas?

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Make a Food Diary

The food (and drinks) consumed each day is students' most immediate relationship with energy. It's all around us, and it's inside us, and knowing how much energy we eat is one small part of the overall energy consumption.

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Energy and Diet: Defining a Calorie

While British thermal units (Btus) and kilowatt-hours (kWh) are common units of energy in the energy industry, the unit of energy most common in everyday life is the calorie.

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