The Food Pyramid

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The Food Pyramid

What you will need

  • Chart showing the USDA Food guide Pyramid. It can be obtained at no cost from the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
  • Picture of food (available from the Dairy Council or cut out pictures from food magazines)
  • Food that is served for breakfast, lunch, or snack
  • Small paper plates or napkins
  • Poster board
  • Markers

Words you can use

  1. Food
  2. Remember
  3. Like
  4. Bad
  5. Yucky
  6. Dislike
  7. Think
  8. Lunch
  9. Dinner
  10. Snack
  11. Triangle
  12. Pyramid
  13. Healthy
  14. Good
  15. Favorite
  16. Sick
  17. Eat
  18. Share
  19. Supper
  20. Breakfast
  21. Names of foods
  22. Shape

What to do

Show the children the Food Guide Pyramid. Let them take turns identifying the foods at each level of the pyramid. The bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group is at the base of the pyramid. Grainbased foods are rich in complex carbohydrates including fiber, vitamins, and minerals and should make up the bulk of the diet with six to eleven servings per day. The phrase "five a day" isused frequently to refer to the five fruits and vegetable that are next on the list of priorities. Depending on your age, two to three servings from the dairy products group as well as the meat ormeat alternates group are recommended. Fats, oils, and sweets take up the least space at the pyramid's narrower tip because they should be given the lowest priority in a healthful meal plan.

Draw a large pyramid on a large piece of poster board. Use a marker to divide the pyramid into six sections. Place the finished drawing on the floor.

Gather the children into a large circle around the pyramid drawing.

Place a small portion of one food item that they will be eating at lunch or snack on a small paper plate or napkin. Let the children identify and share what they know and feel about their fooditem. Tell the children that it's okay if they dislike or prefer certain foods. Give them the opportunity to talk about which foods they like and don't like to eat and have them explainwhy.

Using the USDA Food Pyramid as a guide let the children place the real food (on the napkin) that they will be having for lunch or snack into the appropriate section of the pyramid.

Discuss the importance of eating a variety of foods all the groups and that all the foods that we eat can help us grow.


Talk about the foods that the children had for dinner last night. Record the foods on a chart as the children talk. Follow the steps I the original activity. Do the results show that the childrenare eating balanced diets? This activity presents an excellent opportunity for a newsletter article that can be sent to families about learning the importance of a balanced diet and how the USDA FoodPyramid can help them understand how to eat a balanced diet.

Let the children choose a colored picture of a food item that they food item that they foods would be in the Food Pyramid, creating their own living pyramid. If steps are available, this willincrease the visual aspect of the pyramid.

Take a photograph of this "living triangle," and send a copy of it home with each child to promote conversation.

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