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Create a Healthy Meal Plan

Students will investigate what it means to eat healthy. After conducting research, they will create their own healthy meal plan and share it with their classmates.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, discuss what it means to eat healthy. Encourage students to describe how they feel after they've eaten a good meal-and how they feel after they've eaten a lot of junk.
  2. Point out that people follow many different diets. They make food choices based on factors including personal preferences or beliefs, religious guidelines and health issues such as allergies. Guide students to understand that no matter what diet someone follows, it is still possible to eat healthy.
  3. Encourage students to conduct research to learn about healthy eating plans. Or, have them review the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) MyPlate Plan to learn about food group targets and personalized food plans.
  4. Using what they learned, instruct students to create a healthy eating plan for the week. Challenge older students to create a meal plan for the entire month.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their meal plans with the class. Instruct them to explain how they incorporated foods from each food group to create a healthy plan. Encourage them to also explain how they personalized the meal plan-adding more of a food they like or omitting one they don't- to create a custom plan that suits their tastes.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Review the USDA's MyPlate Plan, or another meal-planning program, as a class. Then divide the class into small groups. Challenge each group to create a meal plan for the week.
Grades 5-6:
Review the USDA's MyPlate Plan, or another meal-planning program, as a class. Then divide the class into small groups. Challenge each group to create a meal plan for the week. Then have each group member tweak the plan so it better fits his or her personal food preferences, while still maintaining an overall healthy food plan for the week.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to conduct research to learn about healthy foods and how to create a healthy meal plan. Then have each pair create a healthy meal plan for the month. Encourage partners to calculate the number of calories consumed on each day. Challenge them to revise the meal plan to create a lower-calorie version for someone who is trying to lose weight.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Divide the pairs into three groups: personal, religious, and health. Inform students that they will conduct research to learn about healthy foods and how to create a healthy meal plan. Then each pair will create a healthy meal plan for the month-but their plan must be customized according to the category they were assigned. How they customize it is up to them. After students create and present their meal plans, lead a class discuss about food. Encourage students to recognize that no matter what the situation, it is always possible to have a healthy diet.