Track the Trans Fat


Children will use food labels to compare foods and make healthy choices based on the trans fat content of those foods


  • Print the Track the Trans Fat worksheets
  • Print and arrange the Which Would You Choose nutrition label worksheets on tables in pairs around the room
  • Optional: Collect empty containers for the foods and beverages listed so that children can read food labels from the containers (Note: due to brand differences, the trans fat content of some foods may be different from those used on the worksheets)


  1. Divide the group into 8 small groups and explain that they will be looking at different foods to determine the healthiest choice based on whether the food has trans fat or not. Instruct children to look for the grams of trans fat on the nutrition label, but ALSO look at the ingredient list! If they see the words "partially hydrogenated", the food has trans fats EVEN IF the nutrition label says 0g! This is because by law, foods labeled as "0 grams trans fat," are still allowed to contain up to 0.49 grams of trans fat per serving.
  2. Explain that trans fats are made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils - a process that makes liquid oil solid. Trans fats may be found in processed foods such as baked goods (like brownies or cookies), and fried food at many fast food restaurants.
  3. Once all of the groups have made their selections, invite them to report their selections and review the answers. Ask if they were they surprised to find trans fat in any of the foods.
  4. Encourage the children to evaluate their own food choices by reading nutrition and ingredient labels and to select foods that do not have any trans fats!

Extension Activities:

  • Copy the "Which Would You Choose" worksheet and cut out each food label. Place all labels in a hat/box/pile and invite 2 children to draw from the pile. The children will then review the 2 random food selections, discuss their options, and determine whether or not one food is a better choice, or if neither is acceptable!
    • Note: In some cases, both foods selected will contain trans fat making neither choice a good one!
    • In other cases, the selections may not have trans fat, but are high saturated fat or sugar which means that children should proceed with caution.
      • To determine if a food is high in saturated fat or sugar, look at the % Daily Value on the Nutrition Facts label. If the % Daily Value for saturated fat or sugar is 20% or more, then it is high.
      • For more information on how to read a Nutrition Facts label, check out this link.