Nutrition Detectives(TM)…Teaching Children to Make Good Choices

As we approach the start of a new school year, I would like to talk about a great program that is available to schools, free of charge.

Nutrition DetectivesTM is a 90-minute educational program that teaches elementary school children 5 clues to make healthful food choices and detect marketing deceptions by using food labels and ingredient lists. It includes a PowerPoint slide show, a food demonstration, and a hands-on activity in which children examine food products. The program is also available as a video presentation on DVD.


  • Teach children how to make healthful food choices and detect marketing deceptions.
  • Give them the opportunity to practice what they have learned.
  • Empower them to share their “detective skills” with other family members.

    Nutrition DetectivesTM shows children how to read food labels and detect marketing deceptions, while learning to identify and choose healthful foods. It has been taught in schools throughout the country.

    The program uses colorful cartoons and images to convey the concept of healthful eating and how it can be challenging in our modern environment. It shows children how food packages can be deceptive, and how “Nutrition Facts” labels can be used to make better choices. It provides them with 5 clues to make healthful food choices by using food labels and ingredient lists on packaged foods. The children learn to look for key ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and fiber.

    After learning the clues, the children are assigned to teams that take part in a hands-on “spying on food labels” game. Each team searches through a bag of groceries filled with packaged foods. Each bag contains both “clued-in” (healthful) and “clueless” (less healthful) food products, and the children work together to decide which foods fit into each category.

    Nutrition DetectivesTM offers a novel, engaging, and efficient way to impart crucial information in minimal time. The entire program can be taught during one 90-minute session, two 45-minute sessions, or three 30-minute sessions to meet the needs of each program provider.

    Nutrition DetectivesTM was developed by David Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and his wife Catherine Katz, PhD.

    The Nutrition DetectivesTM PowerPoint slide show, teacher manual, and supplemental print materials can be downloaded free of charge at The Nutrition DetectivesTM DVD (which includes all these materials, plus an optional video presentation of the program) can be ordered from the website; there is a small fee for shipping and handling.