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Omega-3 Bread Lesson Plans

This lesson plan uses the attitude objectives stated in the Alberta Program of Studies for Elementary Science. It is intended to encourage students to develop the following attitudes towards scientific study:

Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.

Specific Learner Expectations

Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:

  • curiosity
  • confidence in personal ability to learn and develop problem-solving skills
  • inventiveness and open-mindedness
  • perseverance in the search for understandings and for solutions to problems
  • flexibility in considering new ideas
  • critical-mindedness in examining evidence and determining what the evidence means
  • a willingness to use evidence as the basis for their conclusions and actions
  • a willingness to work with others in shared activities and in sharing of experiences
  • appreciation of the benefits gained from shared effort and cooperation
  • a sense of personal and shared responsibility for actions taken
  • respect for living things and environments, and commitment for their care.

Teachers are encouraged to use these lesson plans as a springboard for studying specific topics in Elementary Science.

Why did Edmonton baker Eugene Edelmann invent Omega-3 bread?

In this lesson plan, students are introduced to Edmonton baker Eugene Edelmann, and how his high blood pressure led to the introduction of Omega-3 bread.

Eugene Edelmann began work as a baker after immigrating to Edmonton after World War II. In 1956, he opened the Bon Ton Bakery, and introduced bagels and petit fours to Edmonton.

He was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 1988, and his doctor gave him the option of controlling it with medication or by altering his diet. Edelmann chose diet, and began researching the role played by decreasing unhealthy hydrogenated oils and saturated fats, and replacing them with healthier Omega-3 oils.

In developing his low-fat, low-sugar bread, he looked to grain sources that were naturally high in Omega-3 oils. Flaxseed, corn flour, cornmeal and wheat germ contain Omega-3 oils, but when Edelmann baked his first loaves, they were not as tasty as he had hoped. He continued to tinker with the recipe, altering the amounts and combination of grains. He adding fresh grated lemon peel to lift the flavour and aroma, and he was finally happy with the product. It went on sale in 1989 and a 16-ounce loaf sold for $1.75.

Lesson 1—Activity 1
Show students a selection of foods and ingredients that are high in Omega-3 oils. These can range from the grain sources used by Edelmann in his bread, to fish sources such as sardines, herring, mackerel and tuna.

What benefits are given by Omega-3 oils?

In this lesson plan, students will learn of the health benefits of Omega-3 oils.

Omega-3 oils are a classification of fatty acids that are found in some grains, and in the tissues of all sea creatures. These polyunsaturated fats raise the level of coronary health by lowering the bad LDL cholesterol, and increasing the good HDL cholesterol.

Omega-3 oils are also available in capsule form, which may be taken on a daily basis.

In the kitchen, the level of Omega-3 oil in food can be raised by adding grain or fish ingredients to specific dishes.

Lesson 2—Activity 1
Show students a number of bread products, and have them compare the ingredients on the package. Which of the breads are highest in Omega-3 oils, and why? How much bread will provide the recommended daily allowance of Omega-3? Can the students name other sources of Omega-3 that they already eat at home?

Lesson 2—Activity 2
Using a number of ingredients high in Omega-3 oils, show students how they can improve foods by adding, for example, wheat germ or ground flaxseed to their cereal. Does this add a different flavour to the cereal, or is it an “invisible” method of increasing the healthiness of the food?

What medical conditions other than high blood pressure do bakers also consider when developing breads for a particular segment of the market?

In this lesson plan, students will learn of dietary restrictions that prevent people from eating “conventional” loaves of bread.

Food allergies and sensitivities have opened up a segment of the bread marketplace for people who have been unable to eat bread. Those with sensitivity to eggs, milk or gluten are now more easily able to find options that they can digest, both in breads and pastries.

As well, an array of low-fat, high-fibre, and low-sugar breads are available for people who wish to create a healthier diet.

Lesson 3—Activity 1
Have the students visit a grocery store that both bakes and sells a range of health-conscious breads. Show them how to identify healthier breads by examining the ingredient lists and packaging. Is there a nutritionist on staff who can explain what is actually in a healthy loaf of bread?

Lesson 3—Activity 2
Have the students sample a selection of health-conscious breads to see the difference in flavour, aroma and appearance. Compare these with the breads they usually eat.

Has the Omega-3 bread been made available nationally?

In this lesson plan, students will learn of the availability of other heart-healthy bread products and cereals.

With the growth in health consciousness, bakeries and bread companies have offered bread products that are high in Omega-3 oils. Cereals that are high in wheat germ and flaxseed have also become more available, and often, recipes are provided for making bread at home using the cereals.

Eugene Edelmann retired from baking in 1996 and sold his bakery. The Bon Ton Bakery is still located in its original site in Edmonton, and the new owners have followed in Edelmann’s tradition by offering a line of 10 wholegrain trans-fat-free breads, all tested by the University of Alberta—and among them, is an Omega-3 bread.

Lesson 4—Activity 1
Present students with a number of bread and cereal options. Let them sample the products to compare flavour and aroma.

Lesson 4—Activity 2
Arrange a field trip to a health or natural foods bakery that specializes in the types of breads Eugene Edelmann would bake. Have the baker explain what is involved in developing bread that contributes to a healthier diet.

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