Lesson

Why Food Is Fuel

Just as machines need fuel to operate, different types of healthy food and beverages provide fuel for the body and brain.

Objectives

  • Explain that healthy foods provide fuel to power the body and brain.

Lesson Plan

The lessons in this unit help kids to understand that food is fuel. Food is what you eat and drink to give your body energy to move and think. Rather than classifying foods as good or bad, encourage children to stop and think, then choose the best fuel (i.e., foods that supply nutrition and energy, rather than empty calories).

You can extend a lesson with videos from the fit video series, What Food Does for Your Body. Each video highlights a food group or category, and serves as a great resource to introduce or review the benefits of eating a variety of foods. See the Extend the Lesson section of this page for a list of videos. 

For more information on healthy eating, go to ChoseMyPlate.gov.

Set The Stage

Show students several (non-battery-powered) toy vehicles or other machines. Dramatically try to make them work. Are these machines? Why aren’t they working? What do some machines need to make them work? Have students share what they know about how fuel and energy makes machines work.

To use this with your students click here.

Captivate

You Are in Charge of Fueling Your Body

View the slideshow to take students on a space mission to help them understand that choosing the best fuel for their body is important. Just like rockets need the right fuel, so do our bodies.

Educate

Help Kids Understand Healthy Fuel

Explain the following key points from the slideshow:

  • Healthy foods are the best fuel to power the body and brain.
  • MyPlate serves as a guide to understand healthy foods and portion sizes.
  • Don’t forget about water! It’s a healthy fuel, too.

Check for understanding: What healthy foods do you fuel up with?

Activate

Print This "How To Build a Meal" Poster for Kids to Bring Home

Challenge students to think of their bodies as rockets. What fuel will they choose for their next meal? Download the How to Build a Meal poster for students to post at home.

Close the Lesson

Ask students to share one idea for a healthy food or beverage to have for an upcoming meal or snack. Ask them to share where they will hang the “How to Build a Meal” poster at home.

When students eat snacks and meals at school, remind them to “fuel up” for what’s next on the schedule. Compliment them on their healthy choices and share how those choices lead to energetic thinking and movement during the day!

Grade: 3-5

Time: 20 Minutes

What You'll Need

Resources

Materials
  • Markers
  • Poster Board or White Board
  • Slideshow

Health Education Standards

  • Standard 1: Core Concepts - Eat a variety of foods within each food group each day.
  • Standard 4: Interpersonal Communication
  • Standard 5: Decision-Making

 

Social and Emotional Learning Competencies

  • Responsible Decision-Making

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