Lesson

Healthy Meal Planning With Kids

Teach kids to plan a healthy meal using the Make Your Plate puzzle.

Objectives

  • Identify food and drink choices that are best for your body and brain.
  • Use the stoplight colors of green, yellow, and red as tools to categorize food choices as eat more, eat some, and eat less.

Lesson Plan

Introduce students to the idea that food is fuel for their bodies. “Food” refers to both what you eat and what you drink. The lessons in this unit use a stoplight as a tool to help students think about their food choices. Green-light foods are to be eaten more often than yellow-light or red-light foods:

  • Eat More: Green-light foods are best! They have the most nutrition for energy and growth and can be eaten anytime. Green-light foods are great fuel for your body and brain, so eat them often! Examples: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, milk, and water.
  • Eat Some: Yellow-light foods do not keep you fueled-up the way green-light foods do. They have more fat, added sugar, and/or calories than green-light foods. Eat yellow-light foods sometimes, but not for every meal. Examples: dried fruit, veggies with sauces, flavored yogurt, granola bars, ground beef, and juice.
  • Eat Less: Red-light foods have the lowest nutritional value. Stop and think about your choice and eat the red-light foods least often. Examples: chips, candy, fried foods, cakes, donuts, and soda. 

It's important that kids understand that foods are not good or bad; however, there are foods that you want to eat more often for good health. For more information and about the nutritional benefits of foods and different food groups, read Food is Fuel

Set The Stage

Ask kids to turn and talk to a partner about their favorite meal. What is it that makes it a favorite?

To use this with your students click here.

Captivate

Think About Healthy Meal Options

Students view the slideshow examples of mealtime choices:

  • Eat More/Green Light
  • Eat Some/Yellow Light
  • Eat Less/Red Light

Educate

Learn About Healthy Eating Options

Present tips for healthy food choices:

  • Choose whole grain foods.
  • Choose baked or grilled over fried foods.
  • Skip adding sugar or butter to your food.
  • The fewer ingredients, the healthier the food item.

Check for understanding: Which foods will you choose to put on your plate for your next meal?

Activate

Plan Healthy Meals

Students document which foods they will choose to put on their plate at mealtime using the MyPlate Meal and the Eat More, Eat Some, Eat Less Food Chart printables.

Close the Lesson

Today we discussed healthy mealtime options and how to make healthy choices. What will you tell others about healthy mealtime choices?

Grade: 3-5

Time: 20 Minutes

What You'll Need

Health Education Standards

  • Standard 1: Core Concepts - Eat a variety of foods within each food group every day.
  • Standard 4: Interpersonal Communication 
  • Standard 5: Decision-Making
  • Standard 7: Practice Health-Enhancing Behaviors

Social and Emotional Learning Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Responsible Decision-Making

Extend the Lesson

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