Friday, February 25, 2011

Food, Inc. & Falling Down: Fast Food

Food, Inc. is a very critical documentary about Americans' eating habits. Falling Down has this great scene, which takes place in a fast food restaurant. I used both to talk about fast and junk food. Topics we always address in the language classroom.

I. Discuss the following questions with a partner.

1. What kinds of food are popular where you live?

2. How often do you eat fast food?

3. How do you like fast food restaurant? Which one is your favorite and why?

4. What do you like and dislike about fast food restaurants?

5. What meal do you prefer to have fast food? Why?

6. Are there any rules in your house when you eat? Which ones?

7. Can you eat anything? Explain it.

8. What is your favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner?

9. Do you think “you are what you eat”? Explain it.

10. What do you think about canned, frozen and processed food?

11. Do you like fast food and slow food? Why?

12. What national dishes from your country would you recommend to the world?

13. Is fast food necessarily junk food? Explain it.

14. Is slow food necessarily healthier than fast food? explain it.

II. Read the statements below about eating habits. Decide whether they are (A) advantages or (D) disadvantages of fast food.

1. ( ) In today's fast-paced life, there is nothing more practical than getting a ready meal.

2. ( ) Besides the time an individual has to spend in the kitchen, cooking a meal also requires one to make a trip to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for the dish.

3. ( ) There is the added effort and time consumed in washing and peeling the vegetables when you cook your own meal.

4. ( ) If someone lives alone, it is cheaper to buy a meal at the supermarket or a snack bar instead of cooking it at home. Certain fast foods like fries and burgers are inexpensive.

5. ( ) You can find some options on the menu of a fast food. Salads, bread products that are made from wheat bread, lean meat, boiled preparation instead of fried, fruit juices, low-fat milk, or diet soda are smart choices.

6. ( ) It is a fact that fast food is more unhealthy than home-cooked meals, as they contain higher amounts of salt, fats and calories.

7. ( ) Fast food is an important contributor to obesity in the population.

8. ( ) Given the sedentary lifestyle that we lead today, the excess fats and calories that we take in with fast food is not used up completely, accumulating in our body as fat deposits that cause complications like cardiovascular diseases and other related diseases of the heart.

9. ( ) The greater the number of people at a meal in a fast food restaurant, the larger is the bill. Eating at fast food outlets is economical only for a single person.

10. ( ) Fast food joints are also being seen as a factor that is making a number of families spend less and less time together.

11. ( ) Fast food restaurants are attractive to many children, with large playgrounds and birthday lounges.

12. ( ) You can find fast food restaurants practically anywhere around the city.

III. Watch the movie segment below from the movie Food, Inc. and discuss the questions that follow:

1. Describe the scene.

2. What do they talk about fast food?

3. Do you think it is true what they say about fast food?

4. Have you ever considered the issues mentioned in the segment when you eat in a fast food restaurant? Will you change your eating habits because of this?

5. What should be done about eating fast food in restaurants like the one mentioned in the segment?

6. Do you think fast food is actually a problem? Why (not)? What should be done about it?

IV. Watch the scene from the movie Falling Down and discuss the questions.

1. Describe the scene.

2. Why did the character act that way?

3. What did he expect and what did he get?

4. How is fast food pictured in the segment?

5. What does it show about the American way of life?




  1. Great topic, I love this website, it's amazing!
    Thank you!

    Sophie from Montreal.

  2. Here is a game to go witht this lesson.

  3. Hey Sophie,

    Thanks for the tip. What a great way to make the class even more appealing! Thanks again. See you.

  4. The documentary film, Food Inc. is very popular. But sadly, I haven't watched it. I really wish to watch it.

  5. This movie is a must. Very informative and thought-provoking.

  6. Hello! I can't download Falling Down (((( Both videos are the same - Food Inc ((

  7. Thanks for the feedback. It has been corrected. The video is OK now.

    1. I´m sorry but I mus say that I can´t donwload Falling Down yet. Both videos are still the same.

  8. awesome and great additon to my lessons.. thought provoking classroom discussions...thank you

  9. Claudio,
    Your blog is a Jewel of a site! I don't know how I landed on it, but I am so amazed by the work you have put together, this could also be a great site for English teacher in the US, who teach native English speakers! I will pass this address along to my co workers!!! It makes so much sense......Sabine from Weston US

  10. Thanks, Sabine. Motivating feedback!

  11. Great Help, thank you so much!

  12. Hello, thank you very much for the great work. But I just noticed FALLING DOWN AND FOOD INC have the same video when downloading. Falling Down is the same as FOOD INC.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. This site is simply amazing! Thank you so much for the great work.

  15. Thanks for your kind words. I am glad it is useful.

  16. Thanks for warning me again about the wrong Falling Down segment download. It has REALLY been fixed now.

  17. Hi Claudio! Your website is amazing! I love it! I'm also a Portuguese teacher and I am wondering if you have a similar site for Portuguese. It's very difficult to find these kind of resources. Thanks in advance!

  18. Sorry, I don't have material in Portuguese.