KNOWING WHAT to eat nowadays is frequently a tough task. The American Red Cross, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has developed a six-week course called "Better Eating for Better Health" that aims to teach participants how to make wise food decisions and how to plan a sensible eating regimen.

The classes, which stress individual experience and discussion, cover topics such as nutrition labeling, ingredient labeling, weight control, fad diets, menu planning, the role of food additives, major nutrients in food, community nutrition resources and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

The course may not provide answers to controversial health and diet issues, but will try to equip students with a set of nutritional "survival skills" to help sift through all the information, says the Red Cross.

Included in the price of the class is the "Better Eating for Better Health" participants' guide (with questionnaires, activity sheets, recipes, nutrition information and resources), a "Food Wheel" poster and six "Nutrition and the Life Cycle" booklets that contain pertinent information spanning from pregnancy to old age.

The class will be taught at the following local American Red Cross locations:

D.C. Chapter

2025 E St. NW. 728-6534. Six-week session for $20. Wednesdays starting Sept. 5, 7 to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays starting Oct. 16, 10 a.m. to noon; Mondays starting Oct. 29, 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays starting Oct. 30, 7 to 9 p.m.

Greater Brookland Service Center, 3737 12th St. SE. 529-2261. Four-week session for $20. Thursdays starting Oct. 4, 10 a.m. to noon.

Montgomery County Chapter

2020 East-West Highway, Silver Spring. 588-2515. Six-week session for $45. Wednesdays starting Sept. 19, 9 to 11 a.m. Must register before Sept. 12.

Alexandria Chapter

401 Duke St., Alexandria. 549-8300. Seven-week session for $20. Tuesdays starting Sept. 11, 7 to 9 p.m.