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Junk Food ESL Lesson Plan

Is Ultra-Processed Food Really That Bad For Us?

Student Level


Video Length: 2:42

Updated on: 01/31/2024

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Junk Food ESL Lesson Plan Description


This ESL lesson plan on ultra-processed foods and junk food contains activities, worksheets, and digital materials for advanced C1 students. By the end of this lesson, students will be able to understand and express the impacts of consuming junk food, express points of view regarding policies on ultra-processed foods, and create dietary guidelines around them.


In the first step of this ESL lesson plan on ultra-processed junk food, students reflect on their dietary choices, assessing the advantages and drawbacks of home-cooked meals, restaurant takeout, and ultra-processed options. The focus shifts to a more detailed discussion of Ultra-Processed Foods (UPFs), as students can share their definition, examples, adjectives, health risks, and target consumers of UPFs. Then, they discuss the necessity of regulations for UPFs and personal thoughts about their own consumption habits. The activity concludes with a fourth creative exercise, in which students construct sentences to express perspectives on the complexities of UPFs. They do this by combining adjectives with nouns.


Students watch a video from the Financial Times that explores ultra-processed foods (UPFs) in depth. In a focused activity, students complete a mind map with topics from the video: adjectives, examples, health risks, and contents of ultra-processed foods. Following this, they discuss and write short answers to questions. The questions focus on Mexico and Chile's actions on UPFs, the American Society for Nutrition's stance, and potential negative impacts of enforcing measures against UPFs.


Students engage in a comprehensive exploration of the video "Is ultra-processed food really that bad?" by discussing their perspectives on how well the video addresses this question and whether any information surprises them. After that, they complete sentences using adjectives from the video to describe aspects of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), such as their dietary impact, potential consequences, nutritional value, and economic considerations. The third part involves students evaluating arguments either supporting or opposing more stringent regulations against UPFs, addressing a range of concerns. This activity aims to promote critical thinking and a balanced understanding of the complexities surrounding UPFs to prepare students for the communicative activation.


Students choose between two activities: Option A involves a role-play debate where they act as policymakers, either supporting or opposing more stringent regulations against ultra-processed foods (UPFs). After negotiating, they announce new dietary guidelines. In Option B, students engage in an open discussion and debate about UPFs, exploring the role of governments in regulation and considering the balance between encouraging healthier choices and respecting diverse dietary preferences. Both activities aim to prompt critical thinking and dialogue on UPFs in a succinct format.

Benefits of using this ESL lesson plan on ultra-processed food:

Engaging and Interactive: The lesson plan offers a variety of activities, including role-play debates and open discussions, making the learning experience about ultra-processed foods and dietary choices engaging and interactive for students at the advanced C1 level.

Comprehensive Understanding: The lesson plan provides a holistic approach, allowing students to reflect on their dietary choices, explore the intricacies of ultra-processed foods (UPFs), and engage in in-depth discussions about health risks, regulations, and personal consciousness.

Critical Thinking & Negotiation: The policy-making and debate activities challenge students to think critically, evaluate arguments, and make informed decisions, promoting skills that extend beyond language acquisition.

Video Description

Ultra-processed foods offer affordability and convenience, yet numerous health professionals argue that they are inherently detrimental to our well-being. As Madeleine Speed highlights in the Financial Times, health advisories regarding these foods might lead to unforeseen repercussions. Governments are contemplating strategies to encourage more balanced diets, but breaking away from the reliance on ultra-processed options is likely to be a gradual process.

Lesson Activities


Ultra-Processed Foods, Dietary Choices, Guidelines, Junk Food


Mind Map Topics (Ultra-Processed Foods), Short Answers


Adjective + Noun Combinations


Ultra-Processed Foods: Policymaking & Debate, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Processed Food, Junk Food, Policies, Food Ethics

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