Vocabulary – Nutrition & Health


It’s a good idea to write a few key vocabulary terms on the whiteboard or presentation deck, and ask the students to say each word out loud several times and guess its means. Discuss the meaning and give examples of how to use each word in a sentence. Ask the older students to write the words in their food journal and use them in a sentence. Vocabulary terms should be reinforced throughout the lesson. They can be made into a quick assessment at the end of each lesson or unit to assess student understanding. 


Nutrition & Health 

Health is

Organism is any living thing that can carry out the life processes on its own. 

Organ is a special part of the body that performs a specific function. Organ system is a group of organs that work together to carry out life processes. 

Nutrition is the process by which an organism takes in and uses food. 

Malnutrition is poor nutrition because of an insufficient or poorly balanced diet or faulty digestion or utilization of foods. Malnutrition can affect a person’s physical and mental health. 

Nutrients are the part of food your body needs to function and grow.

Macronutrients are nutrients your body needs in large quantities – carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

Micronutrients are nutrients your body needs in small amounts – vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins are nutrients that help regulate body processes, fight disease, and promote the growth of new cells.

Minerals are micronutrients that help regulate body processes and build new cells.

Protein is a macronutrient the body uses for growth and repair of cells and supplies energy. Protein builds, maintains, and replaces tissues in your body. Your muscles, organs, and immune system are made up mostly of protein.

Carbohydrates starches and sugars

Dietary fat is a macronutrient. Fat stores energy for your body, keeps you warm, helps to regulate body processes and fight disease, and helps to promote the growth of new cells. 

Dietary fiber 



USDA’s MyPlate


Dietary Guidelines for Americans







Whole Foods & Processed Foods

Whole foods are in their original, natural state, a whole food is one ingredient. Whole foods are plants and animals from land or water.  

Processed foods have been changed from their natural form and combined with other ingredients. processed foods are made from whole foods, chemicals, and other food additives in a factory. A majority of processed foods are high in fat, sugar and salt. 



Food Labels 


Nutrition facts label

Ingredients list



Serving size is an amount of food, like 5 pretzels or 1 cup of cereal. The nutrition facts tell you how much of each nutrient is in one serving. If you eat more than one serving in one sitting, do the math to find out how much of each nutrient you’re getting from that food. 

Servings per container tells you how many servings of food are contained in that package of food.

Daily Values are the standard nutritional values developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Percent Daily Value (% D.V.) on a Nutrition Facts Label refers to the nutrients in one serving of food. For example, if the label lists 8% D.V. Total Fat, it means that one serving provides 8 % of the fat you need to eat each day.  


Dietary Fats

Essential fats

Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature, comes from plant sources and fish, and do not increase risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats – come mostly from plant-based foods like oils. They are liquid and cannot stick to your heart and blood vessels. Unsaturated fats do not increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, comes from animal sources, and can increase risk of heart disease. Saturated fats – come mostly from animal-based foods like meat and dairy. They are solid and can stick to your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of developing heart disease. 


Heart disease is problems with the heart and blood vessels, like clogging of the arteries, heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. Heart disease – means problems with the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Problems include: hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Some of the risk factors for heart disease are within your control, like exercising, smoking, and being overweight. Other risk factors are not within your control, like age – being older, family history of heart disease.

Circulatory system is the organ system responsible for transporting oxygen, nutrients, water, and wastes in the body. 

Circulation is the movement of blood through the heart and body. circulation provides oxygen and nutrients and helps the body get rid of waste.

Blood carries nutrients and oxygen to every cell in the body. 

Heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout the body. 

Artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. 

Vein is a blood vessel that carries blood back to the heart. 

Capillary is a tiny blood vessel that connects arteries and veins.







Fat soluble

Water soluble

Immune system, antioxidants, antibodies, immune system, leukocytes, lymphatic system, lymph nodes, germs, allergies

Skeletal system gives the body shape, protects the organs inside the body, and works with the muscles to move the body. Bones,  bone marrow, cartilage, spine, vertebrae, ribs, sternum, skull, scapula, humerus, radius, pelvis, femur, patella, tibia, fibula, talus, hinge joint, ball and socket joint, ligaments

Tissue is a group of cells that are similar and work together.  


Fiber & Water

Dietary fiber is good for digestion and keeping your heart healthy. You need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health, but most Americans get only about 15 grams a day(www.hsph.harvard.edu).

Soluble fiber

Insoluble fiber


Bowel movement



Digestive system is the organ system that breaks down food into nutrients that the body can use.

Stomach is a muscular organ that stores food and mixes it into a soupy mix.

Small intestine is a long tubelike organ where most of digestion takes place.

Large intestine is the organ where water and minerals from food are absorbed into the blood.

Esophagus is a muscular tube that pushes food down toward the stomach.



Physical activity is movement