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Part 1 Food in our lives

All animals, including humans, have to eat and drink. Food gives us energy and the nutrients* that our bodies need to grow and to be healthy. Understanding the link between the food that you put in your mouth and how it affects your body is very important for a happy and healthy life.

Food is also a delicious and fascinating way of exploring different cultures* across the world. Everybody eats. But, exactly what they eat, when they eat, how they prepare their food and who they eat with, can be very different across the world.

Talking about food can help us to compare our lives with others around the world, and to find out about our similarities, links and differences.

Why is food important in my life?

With a group of friends, think about this question. Then, make a list of at least five ways that food is important in your life.

Design a colourful spider diagram like the one below. For each of your headings, aw pictures or stick on photographs to show more detail. You might draw examples of food and the way it is traditionally presented, or festivals where special foods are important.

What did I eat?

a. Think back to yesterday. Create a table like the one below. First fill in column 1 and 2 with the events that happened in your day – the time you got up, started school, had lessons, ate breakfast, finished school and so on…

Then draw, write or stick in pictures to show what you were doing at these different times of the day, what you ate, where you ate and who prepared your food.

b. Discuss and compare your table with a small group. Do you all have a similar pattern of eating through the day? What are the main differences?

c. In your group, decide which meal you think is the most important of the day and why?

3 Favourite Flavours!

a. With your group, design a survey to find out the most favourite and least favourite meals in your school.

Draw a bar graph or pictograph to show your results.

You could plan this activity as b. Discuss and compare your table with a small group. Do you all have a similar pattern of eating through the day? What are the main differences?

c. In your group, decide which meal you think is the most important of the day and why?

3 Favourite Flavours!

a. With your group, design a survey to find out the most favourite and least favourite meals in your school.

Draw a bar graph or pictograph to show your results.

You could plan this activity as a class. Each group could survey a different year group so that you can compare younger and older pupils. You could also include the adults in your school.

b. Interview older people in your home or local community to find out what their favourite foods and flavours are now, and what they liked to eat best when they were children.

Have children’s favourite foods changed since they were young? What could some of the reasons be for these changes?

Part 2 Celebrating food

For most people, food isn’t just a matter of survival. Sharing food brings people together and is often an important part of a social event or a family gathering. Some religions have special foods that are eaten for particular festivals and celebrations such as sweets for Diwali or ‘potato latkes’ for Hannukah. You can read more about these below. Often this food is prepared and presented in a special way. As well as feasting, some people have times when they fast or restrict what they eat together. All over the world, people celebrate the start of the planting season and the harvest with festivals, song and dance. One way or another, food is an important part of our lifestyles and cultures.

Festivals of light and celebrations with food Special sweets for ‘Diwali’ Every year, in October or November, thousands of Indian families across the world gather together to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. The festival lasts for five days and each day has its own special rituals including the lighting of many special oil lamps. It is a time for visiting family and friends, feasting and exchanging gifts. Food is an important part of the festival. Hindus do not eat meat, so most of the traditional dishes cooked during Diwali are vegetarian and so do not include meat. Sweets are given as gifts to friends and family, and are immediately offered to guests when they visit. For example, ‘Gulab Jamans’ are delicious deep fried balls of sweet dough, soaked in sugary syrup.

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