Next Generation Science Standards:
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the idea that matter that is not food (air, water, decomposed materials in soil) is changed by plants into matter that is food. Examples of systems could include organisms, ecosystems, and the Earth.]
Objectives: To describe which foods are healthy and which are unhealthy. To create and analyse a meal focusing on its nutritional value.
Key words: Nutrient; balanced diet; Carbohydrate; Protein; Variety
(Using Key words: Students can create a glossary, in books or on wall in classroom. Students are encouraged to practice using vocab in written or verbal sentences – perhaps writing example sentences and displaying them. Students could earn points for using the vocab in novel sentences each week)
- Image of MyPlate
- Flash cards of food type
- Food selection document
- Cooking tools based on what you’re making (mixing bowl, knives, cutting board, plates, cutlery, portable stovetop, frying pan, etc.)
Show the class the diagram of the ‘Myplate’ (either on board, or give each pair / group a print out) and describe that it shows the proportion of your whole diet that should be made up of the different food groups. Discuss different examples of each food group.
Each group gets a print out of the cards of all the foods. Using the Myplate, they put the foods into the correct groups. Groups, or individuals from groups, can then move around the room, assessing how another group arranged their foods and comparing their own groupings. Go through as a whole class.
Check students have understood the message of balance and variety by discussing these questions:
Would it be healthy if I just ate foods from the fruit and vegetable section? (No, that is not a balance). Would it be healthy if I always ate one particular food from each group, e.g. peas, chapattis, yogurt, tuna and candy? (No, emphasise balance and variety).
Individual activity (or paired)
(This could also be a homework activity)
Give each student (or pair) one of the food selection sheets. Using what they know of the Myplate they have to use those foods, and any others to create a meal that is healthy. Prompt them to think of cooking methods, expenses, nutrition content. Peer critique; students swap meal ideas and write two positives and one possible improvement to the meal.
Each student reflects on the last meal they ate; did it have a good balance of food types? Each student details one way they would change that meal to make it contain the correct proportion of food types (perhaps adding / changing or taking away foods).
- Adapt a menu for an elderly; pregnant; teenager; sports person – research the specific needs of these people and put into their diet the relevant nutrients.
- Create an advertisement to persuade a group of students why exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle. Include the foods they should be eating and why.
Healthy Growing Session (if participating)
Prepare and cook a simple healthy meal with the class (fruit salad, vegetable salad, stir fry, baked potato, spaghetti).
Recruit a few parents or teaching assistants for the day and separate students into manageable groups. All students will focus on the same dish, but each group will make their own. (Variation – the class can plan a whole meal, but each group will focus on one piece of it (i.e. starter, main, sides, dessert) including all ingredients, tools, and budget.).
Discuss knife safety. Give each student an opportunity to do each step of the preparation and cooking.