Exploring the Food Guide Pyramid
Students will learn the 6 groups of the Food Guide Pyramid. Students will become familiar with how foods are categorized within the Pyramid. Students will also become familiar with serving sizes.
A lesson plan for grades 6–12
- identify the 6 food groups of the Food Guide Pyramid.
- place food examples in the proper group within the Food Guide Pyramid.
- become familiar with the USDA serving sizes in the Food Guide Pyramid.
- understand the importance of using the Food Guide Pyramid in selecting daily food choices.
Time required for lesson
- Video - Eating for Life: The Nutrition Pyramid (1994, The Learning Seed, 330 Telser Road, Lake Zurich, IL 60047) or alternative
- Transparency of the Food Guide Pyramid
- Actual food examples (have examples from each group such as cereal, pasta, apples, orange juice, cooked vegetables, milk, potato chips)
- Measuring equipment (measuring cups, measuring spoons, scales)
- Chart paper or newsprint
- Colored markers
- Pictures of food from magazines
- Blank Pyramid that you have prepared or use the attached Blank Food Guide Pyramid
Students should have a basic knowledge of the 6 classes of nutrients, their sources and their functions.
- Briefly review the nutrients.
- Explain that the Food Guide Pyramid is a tool that is used to plan a healthy, balanced diet.
- Show video, Eating for Life: The Nutrition Pyramid (The Learning Seed)
- After the video, show the transparency, to review the basic groups.
- Explain that there are standard serving sizes for each group.
- Show actual serving sizes. As you discuss each group, students are always amazed at what is actually a serving size. A good visual is to weigh 1 ounce of cereal (which is one serving). Most people eat 2+ servings at a time.
- Hand out the chart paper and the colored markers.
- Divide the class into groups.
- Each group will draw a Food Guide Pyramid on their chart paper.
- Hand out the pictures of food. These can be prepared ahead of time and laminated so that you can use them year after year. If you would like, and have class time, the students can find the pictures themselves, and glue them onto their Pyramids. If you use the laminated pictures, this activity can be repeated when you review for a test.
- Students will lay the pictures on the correct food group (for examples: potato will be placed on the vegetable group). The teacher can walk around and quickly see if the students have an understanding of the Food Groups of the Pyramid.
- Distribute the attached Blank Food Guide Pyramid (or have the students draw one on a sheet of paper).
- Have the students write down everything they eat for the next 24 hours in the Pyramid. They must write the foods they eat in the correct group area of the food guide pyramid.
The teacher can monitor the students’ grasp of the Food Guide Pyramid during the chart activity.
The assignment can be checked for accuracy in placement of foods in the Food Guide Pyramid.
Food and Nutrition Information Center