Science project

Food Circles and Nutrient Density

The purpose of this experiment is to learn about the foods that you eat and to learn which ones are healthier choices.

Research Questions:

  • What are some common foods that you and your friends eat?
  • What types of foods are considered to be healthy choices?
  • How many calories do you use every day?
  • What is the average amount of calories that people eat that are considered to be empty (such as those from candy or soda)?
  • How many calories does a person need to survive?
  • How many calories does the United States Food and Drug Administration suggest that a person eat in a day?
  • Why is there a discrepancy between the amount of calories a person needs and the amount that the US suggests a person eat?

Many of the foods we eat are packed full of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and essential oils that we need to survive. A food is considered to be nutrient rich if the amount of these things is high relative to the amount of calories in the food. Eating nutrient dense foods is beneficial to health because it helps us to get all of the nutrients we need while limiting the number of calories in our diets. Many other foods that come prepackaged do not contain a high amount of nutrients relative to the number of calories. An understanding of which foods are nutrient dense and which have empty calories can also help us make healthy eating choices.


  • Various packaged foods with labels. You can use packaged foods that you find at home or you can conduct your research at a grocery store, just be sure to put everything back where you found it.
  • Nutritional information about fruits and vegetables (you can find this information on the internet).
  • A piece of poster board
  • Markers

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Collect data about various types of foods using a chart such as the one below.
  2. Compare the foods you have collected data on.
  3. On a piece of poster board, draw three circles, one inside the other.
  4. Place foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients towards the inside of the circle. You may draw pictures or use words on the chart.
  5. Place foods that have a medium amount of calories and a medium amount of nutrients in the middle circle.
  6. Place foods that have a high amount of calories and a low amount of nutrients in the outside circle.
  7. Foods that are healthier choices are located on the inside and foods that are less healthy choices are on the outside.



Carbs not from sugars



Various vitamins

Various minerals








rice (1 cup)







candy bar














peanut butter and jelly sandwich







Terms/Concepts: Nutrient; Calorie; Density; Nutrient dense


Disclaimer and Safety Precautions provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against that arise thereof. In addition, your access to's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items