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.


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

Lesson Plan

Food is fuel for the body. Food is what you eat and drink to give your body energy to move and think. Rather than simply classifying foods as good or bad, encourage children to stop and think then choose the best fuel (foods that supply nutrition and energy, rather than empty calories). For more information on healthy eating, go to MyPlate.gov.

Set The Stage

Show students several toy vehicles or other machines. What do some machines need to make them work? Have students share what they know about how fuel, wind, batteries, and other energy sources make machines work.

To use this with your students click here.


You Are in Charge of Fueling Your Body

Students go on a space mission to help them understand that choosing the best fuel for their bodies is important.

Just like rockets need the right fuel, so do our bodies.


Help Kids Understand Healthy Fuel

Explain the following key points:

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


Print This "How to Build a Meal" Poster for Kids to Take 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 drink 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: K-2

Time: 20 Minutes

What You'll Need


  • Markers
  • Poster Board or White Board
  • Slideshow

Health Education Standards

  • Standard 1: Core concepts-Healthy Eating
  • Standard 4: Interpersonal Communication
  • Standard 5: Decision-Making

Social and Emotional Learning Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Responsible Decision-Making

Extend the Lesson

Play the fitGame, Fuel Tag.

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