Reading Labels

CONCEPT: Reading Food Labels, Calculating Phe



Participants complete an activity looking at food labels and ingredients and practicing techniques to estimate the amount of phe in foods.



After completing this activity, participants will be able to:

  • estimate the amount of phe in a food by looking at the label
  • identify ingredients listed on food labels as "with phe" or "without phe"
  • calculate the amount of phe in a meal



Complete the "Reading Labels" worksheet. (The first part is a short pre-test, the second part lists the answers and explanations.) It should be self-explanatory, but adults should be present to answer questions.

Discuss the answers. Who got them all right? Who missed one? (Reminder: the quiz was designed to ask questions that most people would not be able to answer correctly.)

Participants rotate through activity stations, as small groups or as individuals, and complete the "Estimating Phe Activity Sheet":

  • Estimate phe from label: Preparation--set out 3 food labels. Participants estimate phe using the equation: grams protein x 50 = mg phe.
  • Guess food from ingredients listed on label: Preparation--set out three food labels with the names of the foods covered (and no identifying containers).
  • Guess amount of phe in meal: Preparation--set out three different meals using food pictures or food models. Participants calculate phe using Low Protein Food List and/or estimating equation.
  • What is in the bag? Preparation--put five different foods into five paper bags. Participants reach into each bag (without looking), guess what food is in the bag, and guess how much phe it contains.

Discuss the answers:

  • Estimate phe from label: How close were the estimates? Why is it better to use food lists? When would be a good time to use the estimating trick?
  • Guess food from ingredients listed on label: What ingredients "gave the food away"? What else could the food have been?
  • Guess amount of phe in meal: Who was closest? Which worked best, estimating or actually calculating? (Remind them that using estimating may be low--more phe in food than they think, or may be high--they won't eat as much as they could have).
  • What is in the bag? Who guessed the foods correctly? How much phe? Who was closest?



  • Pencils
  • acrobat reader logo Estimating Phe Activity Sheet
  • Calculators
  • Low Protein Food List
  • Food labels (see part 3 above: need 6 total, 3 of these with name covered)
  • Food pictures or food models to make 3 meals (see part 3 above)
  • Five paper bags, each containing a "mystery food" (such as turnip, kiwi, orange, mushroom, bell pepper)
  • The group leader will need an "answer sheet" with the phe content of the specific foods used in the activity (will vary depending on the foods included).



Review the labels of the foods your family eats with your children.


[top of page]