Food Groups

Food Groups

Target Grade Level / Age Range:

Kindergarten-2nd Grade

Time:

60 minutes

Purpose:

At the end of this activity the students should be able to:

  1. Identify the food groups.
  2. Identify reasons to choose healthy food choices to eat.          
  3. Sort foods on to the MyHealthy Plate.
  4. Identify how the local farmer produces and provides food for the consumers.

Materials:

  • Picture of Choose MyPlate
  • magazines
  • scissors
  • glue
  • crayons
  • large paper with the diagram of MyPlate on it to create a mural

Suggested Companion Resources:

  • Information from www.choosemyplate.gov
  • Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson
  • Food from Farms (World of Farming) by Nancy Dickmann
  • Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens

Vocabulary:

  • Nutrition- the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.
  • Farmer- a person who owns or manages a farm.
  • MyHealthy Plate- a diagram of a plate that represents a healthy diet

Background – Agricultural Connections:

Eating a well-rounded and varied diet will go a long way toward making sure you have all the nutrients you need. Remember that our body uses everything we put into it, and what we give it determines how it's used — for good health, or for bad.

A farmer's main goal is to produce a good crop and/or healthy animals in order to make a living and to feed the population. Farmers are responsible for all crops and livestock that are needed for us to survive. Without food, the world would slowly die, and farmers work hard every day to keep plenty of crops and animal products in the market to keep that from happening.

Interest Approach or Motivator:

Read the story Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens. Introduce vocabulary words nutrition, farmer, food groups. Discuss how the importance of eating a balanced diet and how the local farmers contribute to the choices we make in foods that we eat.

Procedures:

  1. Read book Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens
  2. Vocabulary
    1. Discuss how the importance of eating a balanced diet
    2. Discuss how the local farmers contribute to the choices we make in foods that we eat.
    3. Discuss if these foods are raised locally or brought in from other states or countries.
  3. Activity
    1. Discuss the poster of MyPlate
    2. Recreate a large mural of MyPlate.
    3. As a large group have the children cut out pictures from magazines of food.
    4. Next collect the pictures and paste them on the healthy plate where they belong.
    5. As foods are identified refer back to the involvement of the farmer.
  4. Discussion
    1. Ask the following questions: Is this food a vegetable, a fruit, a grain, a dairy product, or a meat?
    2. Point out that exercise is the other component of a healthy diet.
  5. Conclusion
    1. Read the following stories. Point out where the foods are coming from and the involvement of the farmer.
      • Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson
      • Food from Farms (World of Farming) by Nancy Dickmann

Essential Files:

Extension Activities:

  • Invite the Dietician from the local grocery store to prepare a fresh salsa using locally grown vegetables.  This activity promotes healthy eating. Points to make during this cooking experience are: 1.  The importance of eating well.  2.  Have the children identify the food groups we are using in the cooking activity.  3.  Point out how much of the food we eat is raised around us in the state of Iowa.  4. Discuss the importance of washing your hands and foods before cooking.  5. Discuss food portions. 6. Discuss a balanced diet.
  • Invite Ag in the Classroom guest speaker to lead the program PATHWAY TO MYPYRAMID.  Introduce My Pyramid and its pathways to healthy food and activity choices. Have the children make a desktop pyramid, identify the food groups, and do some physical activities to improve their health.  At the conclusion of the lesson, the children will make MyPyramid Trail Mix.  It is a great way to introduce the food groups and a great way to kick off the unit in nutrition.
  • Invite the Iowa State Extension representative into the classroom to lead the program PICK A BETTER SNACK. Once a month they will come in and introduce a fruit or a vegetable to the class.  They will discuss how the farmer raised the food and what part of the nation it came from.  The fruit or vegetable is served as a snack to the children.  This opportunity allows the children to experience a food they may not had introduced to them before.
  • Invite the school nurse into the classroom and play MATCH THE FOOD.  The children will match the food to its place on the Food Pyramid. Have the school nurse discuss why making healthy choices helps keeps us healthy and improves our health.

Author:

Neva VerHelst  

National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes:

  • Recognize that agriculture provides our most basic necessities: food, fiber (fabric or clothing), energy, and shelter.
  • Identify healthy food options.
  • Identify the people and careers involved from production to consumption of agricultural products

Iowa Core Standards:

  • 21st Century Skills
    • 21.K-2.HL.1 Understand and use basic health concepts to enhance personal, family, and community health.
    • 21.K-2.HL.4  Identify influences that affect personal health and the health of others.

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