You Are What You Eat


A recent survey by experts at the University of Sheffield in the UK has found some interesting trends in British eating habits.  While many people think we’re spending more time apart from our families, eating on our own, on the go, or in front of the television, in reality the story is pretty surprising. We are in fact spending more time eating with our families and friends than twenty years ago. One thing our European neighbours often think however – that Britons eat badly – FishChipsmay not be far wrong, although not in the way that they might think. No, it’s nothing to do with our national dishes which so often come in a varying shade of brown (I’m not complaining by the way – I’m always ready to do my bit to defend Friday fish and chips or a hearty pie). It’s more that we’re eating more ready meals and less green vegetables, and at no particular time.

This video clip from The Economist sums this all up nicely and could be an interesting way to freshen up any classes or discussions about food, especially for higher levels. Let’s face it – all of our students have strong arguments about whose cuisine is best (invariably their own, of course). The video has some easily understandable statistics and comparisons that could work nicely for a bit of listening comprehension. The research itself is a simple and effective way to compare British eating habits with other countries or to discuss changing traditions and trends in a busy world. Don’t worry if you think The Economist is too highbrow for your students  –  the majority of its content is actually very accessible.

Macmillan English Campus has plenty of other resources from simple low-level fillers and vocabulary activities, to listening activities asking students whether it’s really true that “you are what you eat” and articles looking at changing habits and food ethics.  You’ll find an even bigger array of resources and worksheets for you to use as a teacher at onestopenglish, including this project for Young Leaners on the Amazing world of food.

You could even combine these resources and lesson plans with something more current that students can have a look at on the internet. Why not try TimeOut’s lists of best restaurants in London and New York? Short reviews, easy navigation and a great look, it’s a nice way to disguise homework like discussion on which they’d most be interested in trying, or writing their own restaurant review. Plenty of food for thought, I hope.




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