Using the Nutrition Program for NEA 2

You can download our resource for NEA 2 on this link.

This shows how the Nutrition Program cab be used for different sections of the Tasks.

If you are a Nutrition Program subscriber, emails us for a free copy.

key words NEA 2

Key words used in NEA 2

The chart shows key phrases from exam boards for NEA 2 where The Nutrition Program can be used.

  • The exam boards have similar points to cover –
  • Research to find dishes that fit the task –
  • Explain how the dishes meet nutritional needs – look at Traffic Lights, RI, and if they fit with a meal.
  • Look at sensory properties – use The Nutrition Program to draw up a Star Profile.
  • Carry out nutritional analysis of dishes – produce a food label using Nutrition Program
  • Analyse the nutrition – annotate the food label.
  • Carry out sensory analysis and add tasters, then write evaluation – all done through Nutrition Program.
  • Use sensory descriptors – the Nutrition Program has a Tasting Word Bank
  • Cost the dish – the Nutrition Program has costs of ingredients
  • Conclude and think of improvements.


Tasting word bank

The Nutrition Program has a Tasting word bank which you can use for sensory evaluation for NEA 1 and NEA 2 and make a Star Profile.

Find words for

  • Taste, flavour and smell

    Tasting word bank in Nutrition Program

  • Appearance
  • Nutrition

Just click the words you want to use and add them to Descriptors for your Recipe.

This example shows how to make a Star Profile for a Fruit salad.

Choose the tasting words – the sensory descriptors – you want to use and give them a Rating mark.

So Fruit salad should be

  • colourful 5/5
  • crunchy 4/5
  • sweet 4/5
  • healthy 5/5
  • attractive 5/5

The Nutrition Program draws the Star for you. Download as JPG

Now add a Taster (Jenny in this example) to taste your fruit salad and get them to score their results.

Now you can Evaluate the results of the fruit salad and see if it needs improving.

Just fill in the spaces for Evaluation.

Download the JPG to present in your work.

You can annotate the Star with more comments.

The final Star Profile compares the results of fats in pastry to see how they taste. You can add several types of pastry to the star to compare results and annotate.

Star profile fruit salad

Star profile with Evaluation filled in

Star profile with completed tasting and Evaluation.

Star Profile with annotation

Star profile for fats in pastry with evaluation

Star profile of fats in pastry with annotation.

Portion sizes for NEA 2

Portion sizes are needed for NEA 2 and you must show how your choice of dishes has the right portion control. But how do you know?
An average man needs 2,500kcal a day for a healthy body weight.

An average woman needs 2,000kcal a day for a healthy body weight.

Our video link shows how to use The Nutrition Program for portion sizes

How to find a portion size

Exam board NEA 2 marking statements

Planning  – Accurate portion control was evident Eduqas

Accurate and excellent knowledge of nutrition is demonstrated AQA  – need to have portion sizes to do this

Presenting – Demonstrates excellent portion control OCR 

You can check the portion size for meat, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables on BUPA website

It’s a good idea to check out portion sizes of your favourite dishes using supermarket ready meals.

Sainsbury’s Ready Meals (Be good to yourself) give clues and their site shows portions.

How many portions does crumble serve?

What about the puddings?

So for your GCSE Food Preparation Assessment choose

Main course 350-400kcal portions – don’t forget you may serve with rice and vegetables

Desserts about 300kcal and portion 60-100g

Nadiya Hussain’s Pear and Blackberry crumble recipe which serves 4.

Each portion provides 856kcals – the average supermarket dessert provides 200-300kcal.

If portion serving were increased to 8 then the portion is reduced to 428kcal which is a healthier option.

Computers and wifi for NEA 2?

Can computers and the internet be used for NEA 2 Food Preparation and Nutrition?

These are responses I have received from Eduqas, AQA and OCR

Eduqas – my question and response from Allison Candy WJEC
Me – I wonder how the Nutrition Program can be used for NEA 2 for Eduqas.
Allison – I see no reason why the nutrition program cannot be used to do nutritional analysis if the brief requires it ( not all tasks will)
Me – If they are investigating how to make dishes healthier, can they use a nutritional analysis program or must they use a book to do the calculations?
Allison – Yes can use the program
Me –Portion control must be evident so how will they work out the kcals in a dish and the portion weight – again must this be done without access to the internet?
For sensory evaluation, descriptors are needed for sensory properties. The Nutrition Program has an online Star Profile – is this forbidden to be used and must they draw out the star profile by hand?
Allison – Yes can use the program, as they still need knowledge to analyse what they see.
Me – I have recently been on a food photography course on using a mobile phone but does the JCQ statement mean that mobile phones cannot be used to photograph dishes?
Allison – If centres are happy for learners to use phones in class that’s fine .


This is the response from AQA Customer service adviser

The NEA is not formally supervised (I understand this meaning a formal exam under exam conditions), the NEA is not under formal conditions.
Students are therefore permitted to:
– use the internet for research purposes
– use nutritional analysis software.
– use digital photography, whether this is a mobile or other devise.  This will be at the discretion of the centre’s policy on digital images etc.

This is the response from Gill Taylor, Subject Officer OCR

‘I am aware that the reference to resources and the information related to this in 4.3  in the JCQ guidance has caused some concerns amongst Food teachers. We have produced guidance for the NEA on page 20 of the OCR specification J309 GCSE (9-1) Food Preparation and Nutrition.
We have not stated in our guidance that the use of resources  is tightly prescribed  to candidates preparatory notes and access to the Internet is not permitted and candidates are not allowed to bring their own computers devices and phones.
I am aware that the JCQ statement  4.3 on resources (• the use of resources is always tightly prescribed and normally restricted to the candidate’s preparatory notes; • access to the internet is not permitted; • candidates are not allowed to bring their own computers or other electronic devices, e.g. mobile phones) does stand for other subjects  such as OCR GCSE Computing.
We would wish our candidates to use a nutritional analysis programme in NEA 1 to investigate the chemical (nutrient) structure of food commodities when they are researching. This is useful for candidates understanding and knowledge of the functional properties of food.

For the NEA Task 2 . Our expectation is that candidates use nutritional analysis for consideration and suitability of dishes in terms of nutritional choice. We expect candidates also to use nutritional analysis to assess the contribution a dish makes to a balanced  diet with reference to the governments guidelines for a healthy diet.

In our CPD training we suggest and recommend that teachers and candidates use the Nutrition program (Jenny Ridgwell) or Explore Food (BNF). We encourage the use of sensory profiling in both Task 1 and 2 as a format to convey results. Again we would find it acceptable for candidates to use your program or an excel program.

We require photographic evidence for Task 2 to include a photograph of 3 complete dishes in one photo  and 2 photographs illustrating skills that have been demonstrated. We are not encouraging large photographic journals.

In Task 1 photos can be used  as a format for displaying and demonstrating investigation results. Commentary is required to explain the photo. I think who takes the photos is dependent on individual school policy. We appreciate that teachers are now assessing large groups, it may well become the students responsibility to take the photos in some centres. I hope I have managed to explain our position at OCR in relation to the JCQ guidance on resources.’

The questions were generated due to a report from

These statements are from JCQ’s Instructions for conducting non-examination assessments (new GCE & GCSE specifications)
1 September 2017 to 31 August 2018 Instructions for conducting non-examination assessments 2017-2018(1)
4. 1
Work may be completed outside of the centre without direct supervision, provided that the centre is confident that the work produced is the candidate’s own. Candidates may normally:
• have unlimited access to electronic and printed resources;
• use the internet without restriction;
• work in groups.
Where candidates work in groups, the teacher should keep a record of each candidate’s contribution.

4.2 Advice and feedback
As appropriate to the subject and component, centres should advise candidates on aspects such as those listed below before work begins:
• sources of information;
• relevance of materials/concepts;
• structure of the response (for example, chapter titles and content);
• techniques of data collection;
• techniques of data presentation;
• skills of analysis and evaluation;
• health and safety considerations, including the use of equipment;
• potential ethical considerations;
• security of their work.
Centres must not provide model answers or writing frames specific to the task (such as outlines, paragraph headings or section headings).


Tips for NEA 2 – Food Styling

Presenting dishes for NEA 2

Presentation skills are essential for the final dishes for NEA 2.

When I photographed my dishes that I tested for Food Preparation Assessment NEA 2, they needed great improvement.


Vegetarian lasagne – very poor presentation needs garnishing

chicken pie

Chicken pie with flaky pastry needs some garnish and serving ideas

whisked sponge

Whisked sponge layered with whipped cream and fruit

This is my Pinterest Food styling NEA 2 board link

Food teachers – get your students to research how to style food for presentations and search for their dishes.


My Pinterest Food Styling board

Visit my website for recipes