Introduction to the Food Pyramid
- Grade level: Lower elementary, Upper elementary
- Subject Area: Math
Students review information on the food pyramid, either in printed works or on the Internet, to learn more about healthy eating habits.
- Learn about the food pyramid.
- Consider what might constitute healthy eating habits.
- Learn what specific foods are in each food category, as well as the number of servings of each food item to eat each day.
- Gain experience in research using the Internet.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: Medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or higher.
Using printed and on-line resources, students review and discuss the food pyramid, and its purpose. Encourage students to consider their normal, everyday eating habits, and the foods they eat most often and least often.
- Students review the food pyramid, and the class discusses the six groups of food types: fats, oils, and sweets; milk, yogurt, and cheese; meat, poultry, and fish; vegtables; fruit; and bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Discuss with students examples of each food group and the recommended servings.
- Students should consider the following questions:
- What foods do I normally eat?
- How much of the food I eat every day is in each of the food categories?
- Should I consider changing my eating habits to improve my health?
- How can the food pyramid be used to promote healthy eating habits?
- If students visit any of the available Websites (see Internet Resources below), they can read about the food pyramid and discuss how they might use it in their own lives. For example, if they visit the Food Pyramid Guide, they can click on an image of the kind of food they normally eat and see where it fits into the pyramid. They can also read about specific groups of food, such as meat for example, and learn about suggested servings and vitamin content.
- Students who visit the Food Guide Pyramid Website (see Internet Resources below) can click on any of the food groups and learn what counts as a serving and about daily caloric intake.
Internet Resources for Students
- The Food Guide Pyramid
A color diagram of the food guide pyramid.
- Food Pyramid-Food Label Connection
A guide to using the food pyramid and labels on food by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Food Pyramid Guide
An interactive guide to the food pyramid, with descriptions of each section, and links to additional resources.
- Interactive Food Guide Pyramid
Located at the Food-Net Cybrary, this guide describes each of the food groups and has suggestions for servings and examples of foods that satisfy each group.
- The New Shape of Nutrition
A short description of the food pyramid and how it can be used to guide eating habits.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans
This report was developed at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
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