• Heather

How To Teach: Where to Store Food and Read Expiration Dates

Importance of Food Storage and Expiration Dates

Helping unload the family groceries and putting the food safely away can be a BIG help to caregivers. Also, detecting mold and knowing not to eat it can keep students safe from sickness. So, knowing where to store food and how to read expiration dates can be helpful and keep us healthy.

Focus Skills

-The feel/temperature of the pantry, fridge, and freezer

-Where to store different foods (pantry, fridge, or freezer)

-Where to find an expiration date

-How to read an expiration date

-How to detect mold on food

-What to do if food was stored in the wrong place

Why Focus On These Skills

Food storage and expiration dates should be a precursor to teaching students how to prepare a meal. It’s the prequel to the actual main event because if students don’t know where to FIND food and how to determine if the food is safe to eat, then the first few steps of any recipe will be an uphill challenge.

When To Teach

Schedule to teach this lesson before your first cooking lesson. This should help students learn a lay of the kitchen and give them foundational skills for building upon during future cooking lessons.

I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!

Lesson Objective

Students will identify when food has expired by the date, mold, or being in the wrong storage.

Students will identify where food should be stored for food to stay fresh.

Lesson Vocabulary

Cool, date, expiration, freezer, fridge, frozen, mold, pantry, refrigerator, room temperature, store, unsafe

Resource Perks

  • Pre and Post assessment

  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)

  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills

  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)

  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment

  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)

  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)

  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)

  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics

  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement

  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills

  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting

  • Word search of key vocabulary terms

  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics

Ultimate Goal

The main focus should be to safely store food in the kitchen and freezer as most food that should be stored in the pantry and isn’t can be thawed and consumed. Also, teaching students to look at food and throw away any moldy food will keep them from getting sick.

Links to Curriculum

Food Storage and Expiration Dates Lesson Unit

Cooking & Kitchen Lesson Unit Bundle

Life Skills Curriculum Bundle

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