Teaching Middle School Students About Nutrition with Omelette Recipe
This lesson is for middle school Family and Consumer Science students; it can be adapted for students in Life Skills classes, after-school programs, and summer school activities.
Prior to presenting the lesson, review your knowledge of nutritional information and check that all ingredients and kitchen implements needed are available. Make a poster, or have students make a poster, with the ingredients and utensils listed on one side and the major nutrient content listed on the other side. (Two student volunteers will need to refer to the poster while they assist you in the demonstration.)
If this lesson is used for high school students you may not need to do a demonstration first; the demonstration method is useful for middle school students because they have little, if any, experience cooking and watching the instructor’s example will illustrate proper procedures.
Introduce the activity with a brief summary of some of the major nutrients in a cheese omelet and reasons to include each of the mentioned nutrients in the daily diet.
Protein is needed throughout our bodies especially in muscles, organs, and the immune system. Protein is needed to build, repair, and replace our body tissues. Protein is also used to make the part of our blood that carries oxygen.
You need to eat about one gram of protein for every 2 pounds you weigh. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds you should eat 50 grams of protein per day. If you eat a balanced diet with a variety of protein sources you probably get enough. An omelet is a great way to get some of your daily protein. You can also add cheese to the omelet to help you get more protein and calcium.
Note: Ask the students to tell you of other protein sources they know. You may expect to hear about peanut butter, legumes, chicken, etc.
This omelet, with 3 eggs and 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, contains:
- 358 calories (kcal) – calories are converted into energy in our cells.
- 27 grams protein – building, repairing, maintaining body tissues.
- 77 mg folate – helps the body form red blood cells.
- 1283 IU vitamin A – helps your body maintain healthy skin, hair and eyes.
- 78 IU vitamin D – helps your body absorb calcium.
- 313 mg calcium – used to build and maintain strong bones, teeth and muscles.
- 24 mg magnesium – necessary for good joint health.
Begin the activity by asking for 3 volunteers. You and the 3 students should wash hands while you talk about safe handling of foods while cooking. The demonstration of the cooking procedure should be performed with the help of volunteers because students learn better when they have hands-on experience and their interest is captured more thoroughly when their peers are part of the demonstration.
Two volunteers will organize the utensils and ingredients while the third volunteer grates the cheese. As you prepare the omelet during your demonstration talk about the nutrients as well as giving specific information about what tasks you are performing. For example, when you tilt the frying pan to allow the liquid to run to the edge of the pan point out the need for a potholder. (Middle school students need constant reminders of proper safety practices.)
- Frying pan with lid
- Butter knife
- Small bowl
- Mixing bowl
- Wire whisk
- Small plates
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp. Butter
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 1 dash of salt
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Place the frying pan on a large burner on the stove and turn to medium heat. (If using a gas stove, the flame should be adjusted to medium height.)
- Melt the butter in the frying pan.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat about 30 strokes. Do not over beat.
- Add cheese, salt, and pepper to the eggs and mix.
- When the butter is hot, pour the egg mix into the pan.
- As the bottom of the egg mix sets, use a spatula to lift the edges of the omelet to allow the liquid center to run to the edges of the pan. Using a potholder, tilt the pan slightly.
- Repeat the above step every couple of minutes.
- When the cheese on top has melted, use the spatula to flip one half of the omelet atop the other half. The shape of the omelet will now be a half-circle.
- Cover the pan and remove from heat. Allow the omelet to sit another few minutes, (3-5).
- Remove the lid, use the potholder to pick up the pan, and use the spatula to slide the omelet onto a plate.
- Slice the omelet into several pieces and serve on small plates to the students.
Explain why the eggs should be cracked one at a time into a separate small bowl before being placed into the larger mixing bowl (so you can remove any egg shell that may fall into the bowl). Explain why one should not over beat the eggs – we don’t want a lot of air in the eggs because that will tend to cause the omelet to deflate instead of turning out fluffy.
As you add the salt and pepper to the mixing bowl, ask for opinions on the definitions of ‘a pinch of pepper’ and ‘a dash of salt’. (The amount of salt and pepper to use depends on individual taste.) As you add the grated cheese to the mixing bowl, ask about the difference between using a liquid measure or a dry measure cup.
Nutrition comments to make to the class in closing:
Eggs are a great source of protein; in fact, almost every essential vitamin and mineral is found in an egg. There is no vitamin C in an egg, but you can include vitamin C in this meal by adding a glass of orange juice or eating a fresh orange with your omelet. If you have a slice of whole wheat toast, a fresh orange, a glass of milk, and this cheese omelet you will have a breakfast that includes the protein, dairy, grain, and fruit/vegetable categories of the food pyramid. This is a balanced breakfast that is fairly easy to prepare.
Now the class will be ready to prepare their own omelets the next time class meets.