Scientists are developing a computer software application that may encourage kids to choose eco-friendly meals instead of fast foods.

The new educational software application is introducing middle school students to the topic of climate change and showing them how their dietary choices affect the planet.

The Food for Thought app displays a dinner plate that students fill by touching the computer screen and dragging their food selections onto the plate.

As students create a meal, the app graphically tallies the nutritional data and carbon footprint associated with each food item and with the overall meal, such as the amount of calories in a salad and the amount of water that would be used in growing the lettuce.

"There are two learning goals here: Make kids aware of the causes and impacts of climate change, and help them become data literate – that is, knowledgeable consumers of the media," said Emma Mercier, professor at University of Illinois in US.

Researchers videotaped groups of students from a high school in Illinois, as they explored climate change issues at the local and global levels.