Healthy Meals in Microgravity

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: 45 minutes

Materials: Minimal


Download the PDF version (567 KB)

Background

A person's food environment includes their social and physical environment and can influence what a person eats and his or her meal patterns. The food environment affects the types of food available, the accessibility of food, and the nutrition information people are exposed to.

The food environment on the International Space Station (ISS) is very different from the food environment on Earth. Astronauts living on the ISS eat a variety of foods from the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe, and Japan. The inventory of food on the ISS is tracked to ensure that astronauts have a sufficient supply on orbit. Food is delivered to the Station every few months. The majority of the astronauts' food is based on a set menu that astronauts can supplement with a few of their favourite foods, as long as these foods meet space flight requirements. Astronauts usually select these specific foods one to two years before they launch to the ISS. The food on the ISS is packaged in single servings; therefore, astronauts may have to mix-and-match with food items to create a fulfilling and balanced meal. For example, an astronaut could choose a package of rehydratable chicken and pair it with packages of spinach and brown rice.

Food can be prepared on the ISS by either heating or rehydrating it, and food is eaten directly from the package. Astronauts do not use plates and bowls! In general, astronauts have a heavy and time-sensitive work schedule, so the foods they eat should be quick to prepare or ready to eat while providing enough energy and nutrients for astronauts to complete their tasks. Astronauts usually consume three meals and a snack every day.

Whether you are an astronaut on the ISS or a person on Earth, consuming a variety of healthy foods is important to receive all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to function optimally.

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Mission description

Participants create a balanced meal for an astronaut using foods available on the ISS that meets Canada's Food Guide recommendations.

Timeline

Breakdown Duration
Lesson 15 minutes

Individual activity

  • Allow participants to access Canada's Food Guide.
  • Hand out "Plan a Meal for an Astronaut Living on the International Space Station (ISS)" and the "Foods Available on the ISS."
  • Participants will create one balanced meal for an astronaut.
30 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Goal

To increase knowledge of healthy meal planning.

Objective

By the end of the lesson, the participants will be able to:

Mission preparation

Materials

Activity

Download the participant handout (PDF, 428 KB)

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