Students will uncover how a dairy farm works and why eating foods with plenty of nutrients is crucial.
- Integrate information from multiple sources to write an informational document
- MyPlate infographic from the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov website
- Example food labels, about one per student
- Optional: Computer and projector
- Optional: Family Take-Home Page: Recipes printable
Either project the My Plate infographic for class viewing or print copies for students to use individually or in groups.
Step 1: Explain that scientists have developed tools to help us plan healthy meals. Introduce the FDA’s Daily Value (DV), the recommended amount of a nutrient that supports a healthy body.
Step 2: Have students use the food labels to determine the amount of different nutrients in various foods. Show students where they can find the percentage of the DV that each food provides. Invite students to use the labels to compare the nutritional content. For example, they could compare the calcium on a milk carton label to another label.
Step 3: Explain that the USDA has created another tool, the MyPlate infographic, to make meal planning easier without having to calculate the amount of each nutrient in each food.
Step 4: Have students use MyPlate and their knowledge of nutrients to create a meal plan for a day, including their rationale for the ingredients chosen and how they will nourish their bodies.
Step 5: After students create their plans, invite them to share them with a peer. Allow students to give and receive feedback on how well their meal plan meets dietary guidelines. Have students ask and answer the following questions with their peers:
- Does each of your meals include grains? Fruit? Vegetables? Dairy? Protein?
- Did you need to customize your meal if you have dietary restrictions? (See ChooseMyPlate.gov for information on dietary restrictions.)
Step 6: Discuss which components of their meals can be sourced locally and/or from a farm. Discuss the potential benefits of locally grown foods, which can be fresher, can support the local economy, and can help create a sense of community.
Extend the learning into your students’ homes. Send home copies of the Family Take-Home Page: Recipes printable and encourage students to cook healthy snacks and meals with their families.