Community Village


Download resource

Please enter your details to download this resource

New Year is a time to take stock – and often to think about making changes. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to try to eat more healthily. But how do you explain healthy eating to new arrivals who don’t have a firm grasp of English?

Healthy eating and good nutrition are important for all of us. For arrivals in a new country, encountering foodstuffs they’ve never seen before and with perhaps limited means of putting healthy food on the table, an understanding of this can be vital. It’s critical that children are given an understanding of the nutritional elements of the foods they’re likely to encounter, so that they can begin to make healthy choices. They also need a knowledge of the technical language used when discussing nutrition.

This is an engaging topic with which to start the New Year. Children tend to love cooking – and the ‘language’ of tasting and enjoying food is universal.

Below, and in the resource accompanying this article, we have a plan and resources to help you teach the principles of nutrition and healthy eating to your EAL learners.

Workflow for a Healthy Eating lesson

Pre-teaching vocabulary

Our resources allow you to pre-teach useful vocabulary to your learners, to cover the basics of the subject.

Sentence construction

Vocabulary is then placed within the context of a sentence, using a simple grammatical structure. In these resources, we have provided the following sentence structures:

  • 'X is healthy/unhealthy’: a simple noun, verb, adjective construction;
  • ‘X makes/gives/stops us X’: a simple noun, verb, pronoun, noun construction; and
  • ‘X contains a lot of X’: introducing the academic word ‘contains’ in a simple noun, verb, adjectival phrase, noun construction.

Teaching of the concept

Our resources ensure that simple concepts relating to nutrition and health are covered at the same time as the teaching of the grammatical structure. This kind of targeted learning, using repeated structures with simple variations (drills), is an effective way of delivering language-learning.

Healthy eating and nutrition EAL resources

Step 1: Vocabulary

The flashcard sets in the resource accompanying this article introduce EAL students to some of the most widely used terms of healthy eating.

A simple introductory activity runs as follows:

  • Show a set of flashcards in a row
  • Point to the first and say it together
  • Point to the second and say it together
  • Repeat for the others
  • Next, point to the first again. The learners say it unaided and you repeat.
  • Point to the second and do the same.
  • Move on through the cards. Keep going until the learner can say the cards in and out of order.

You might also like to try some specific Healthy eating games. For example, why not mix up the Healthy and Unhealthy flashcards and ask your learners to separate them into piles of Healthy and Unhealthy foods? You can also engage the learner in conversation by asking them to put the cards into piles of food they like and don’t like. What does that tell you about our willingness to eat healthy food versus the alternative? And can your learner think of a healthy food swap for an unhealthy food?

Step 2: Sentence Creation

Substitution tables allow your learners to have a go at specific vocabulary and grammatical structures, whilst also introducing them to some of the most important elements of nutrition. Ask your learner to choose a word from each column to make an accurate sentence. Can your learner add their own choice of food in the blank spaces at the end of the first column?

You can download a full Healthy Eating teaching plan, which includes three flashcard sets and multiple substitution tables, by clicking on the button at the top and bottom of this article.

Further learning - Blog

Created: Wed 11th Oct 2023

I have taught ESOL (English for speakers of other languages who live in an English-speaking environment) for over 15 years. Many of my students have recently moved to England. Their reasons for learning English have varied greatly; from learning it out of necessity to learning it just for fun. Likewise, their learning backgrounds have been vastly different. Some students have had very little or recent education, while others have had higher education.  

Created: Wed 1st Mar 2017

In Science, EAL learners need to understand scientific language, both written and oral, as well as to work with the command verbs such as; discuss, explain, evaluate etc… (Mertin, 2014). This means the language required for Science is academic and challenging and, as a result, it can become extremely difficult for learners to access the subject content. This begs the questions; How do we make the lessons comprehensible to EAL learners and provide what Krashen (1998) terms as ‘comprehensible input’?

Forest road
Created: Tue 6th Mar 2018

The term 21st Century skills is becoming significantly part of the classroom learning environment, but what exactly does that mean? There are a few definitions, however, in essence, these are the skills that our learners need to prepare them for their future (Puchta & Williams, 2014), taking them from their studies, to their futures as adults.

The Four C's

Many researchers today acknowledge the 4C’s. They are known as: