Healthy Eating

“Eat your breakfast, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to your enemy.”

Russian proverb
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This free ESL lesson plan on healthy eating has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Many countries around the world are suffering a health crisis of obesity. Obesity increases the risk of other health problems like diabetes and heart disease. Fast food and other junk food containing high levels of salt and sugar are the principle causes of this problem. With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, eating healthy food is more important today than ever. In this ESL lesson plan on healthy eating, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what a balanced diet is, what food is unhealthy and the problem of obesity.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Obesity Day, which takes place in March; World Health Day, which takes place in April; or World Heart Day, which takes place in September. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

BBC | Why do the Italians live longer than us?

The article looks at the reasons why Italians have a longer life expectancy than British people. One of the main reasons, according to the article, is down to the Mediterranean diet that people in Italy follow. This includes eating lots of vegetables, low fat meat like chicken and fish, and the odd glass of wine. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “How to Spot A Fad Diet” by TED Ed which looks at the popularity of fad diets and how to recognise them.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including whether the students try to eat healthily, opinions about vegetarian food, and the best food for losing weight.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with healthy eating such as junk food, carbs, and your eyes are bigger than your belly. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about healthy eating. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as diets they have heard of, why people eat unhealthy food when it’s known to be bad for them, and whether there should be a tax on unhealthy food.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of healthy eating. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.


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