Nutrition Cards



by Marcella Harkness

Marcella currently manages a Jenny Craig Weight Loss Center.

Instructional Objective The learner will be able to classify nutritional information given a food label with current information about various food products.


Learners/Context The learners are Jenny Craig clients enrolled in a weight loss program or any individual interested in learning to understand food labels.

This card game would be used in a Jenny Craig Lifestyle class to teach client about reading nutritional labels found on food products. The game could be played initially as a 'WAR' game. The entire deck would be dealt. Each student would flip their cards at the same time, the student with the food product showing the lowest % of calories of fat would win that 'war'. The game could be played again using lowest sodium content as the winner of 'war'. Another version of the game would be a 'rummy' type game. Students would play to collect the food products needed to make up their particular 'Food Group Box' needs.

The cards could also be used as a job aide to assist the instructor in teaching clients to read food labels.


Rationale The material to be learned is useful in that clients need to learn how to read food labels in order to manage their weight after completion of the Jenny Craig program. Nutritional labels contain important information needed to make wise food choices.

A card game is useful for this type of instruction for several reasons. The cards would resemble actual labels found on food packages. Clients would become comfortable with food labels as they actually appear on food products. They would be instructed as to what they should look for in food products.


Rules A. The 'war' game is played in the following manner:

1. Deal entire deck among all players.

2. Each player places her stack face down on the playing surface.

3. Each player flips her card at the same time.

4. Each player identifies the % of calories from fat on the label.

5. The player with the food item lowest in % fat wins the war and the cards turned face up.

6. Players try to collect the most number of cards. The player who has all the cards at the end of the game wins.

B. A second 'rummy type' game may also be played. It should be played as follows:

1. Deal 7 cards to each player.

2. Each player attempts to make 'books' using the cards dealt. The 'books' consist of groups representing Food Group Boxes. For example, women would try to collect 2 fruits, 3 vegetables, 4 grains, 2 meat servings, 2 milk servings, and 1 fat. Each category makes up a 'book'. As players collect enough cards to make a 'book', those cards are laid face up on the playing surface.

3. After players have made 'books' with the cards dealt play begins. The remainder of the stack is placed face down on the playing surface with one card turned up. To start play, the player to the right of the dealer either draws a card from the stack or chooses the card that is face up. If the card drawn completes a 'book', those cards are laid face up in front of the player. The player then discards one card. This becomes the face up card for the next player.

4. The next player takes her turn. If a player runs out of cards and has no cards in hand, the player draws 7 additional cards.

5. The first player to complete all 6 'books' or Food Group Boxes wins.


Card Design

Deck Design There are seven types of cards used in the game. Each type of card represent a group of foods used in the Jenny Craig food exchange list. These food groups make up the components of the Jenny Craig Food Group Box System.

1. Fruits: These cards represent all foods that are considered to be fruits. These cards are distinguished with a red stripe across the top of the card.

2. Vegetables: These cards represents all vegetables. They have a green stripe across the top.

3. Grains and grain products: These cards represent all foods considered to be grains. They have a yellow stripe across the top.

4. Milk: These cards represent all dairy products. They have a blue stripe across the top.

5. Meat and Meat Equivalents: These cards represent all meat products and those foods considered to be equivalent for the purposes of Jenny Craig. They have a purple stripe across the top.

6. Fats and Oils: These cards represent foods considered to be fats or oils. They have a black stripe across the top.

7. Free: These cards represent those foods with negligible calories. They have a pink stripe across the top.


Design Process The first design consideration was to decide the type of game to be played. I decided to begin with a simple 'war' game to familiarize the student with the cards and the information on them. This way the player only had to look for one item on the card. A second round could be played for further familiarity. An additional 'rummy' type game could be helpful in taeching clients how to make up their food group boxes.

The second design consideration was to decide how to categorize the cards. I decided to use a structure that was already familiar to the Jenny Craig client. The Jenny Craig Food Group Box system was an obvious choice.

The cards can be used for more than just games. The lifestyle instructor could also use them by distributing them in class to each student as a visual aide when talking about food labels.