My Kids Food Basket Plate
  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.

Students learn to properly "dress" their plate with foods from each of the food groups. Students will also compare the foods in the Kids' Food Basket Sack Supper to the food groups on My Plate. Students volunteer their time to prepare or pack meals for a local food distribution charity. 

PrintTwo 45-Minute Class Periods, plus time for a service project

The learner will:

  • create a "plate" with foods from each food group.
  • compare the foods provided in a Kids' Food Basket Sack Supper to the My Plate standards.
  • provide healthy food for or assemble Sack Suppers for kids who are hungry in the community.

Handouts from the website

  • one electronic copy of the My Plate graphic (for use on document camera or overhead)
  • one copy of the Fruits and Veggies mini-poster (for use on document camera or overhead)

Student copies of Three Handouts

  • Decorate My Plate Graphic
  • Decorate My Plate Cards
  • Sack Supper Comparison sheet
Home Connection: 

Teachers should send home the My Plate at Home attachment for students to share with their families. It provides an overview of the topic and provides tips and strategies for families to make healthier food choices for their home meals.


My Plate graphics -

Veggies Poster -

My Plate at Home -

Kids' Food Basket -

Feeding America -

  1. Day One

    Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students to name some of their favorite foods and snacks. Make a list on the board of their responses. Once the responses have been recorded, ask students to think back to The Girl in the Yellow Dress story. Are there any foods on our list that are essential types of foods that we really need? Allow students to respond. As they provide answers, circle anything from their list that they have decided is an essential type of food. If there are a lot of foods circled, congratulate the students on making healthy food choices already. If there are few (or none!), let the students know what they will be learning about My Plate today and learning how to make smart food choices so their bodies get the foods they need.

  2. Display the My Plate graphic on the overhead or document camera. Ask the students if they have ever seen this image before. If they have, invite students to share where they have seen the graphic. Ask students why they might have seen the graphic in those locations.

  3. Explain to students that they are going to learn about My Plate and how they can use this graphic as a tool to help them make better choices about the foods they are putting into their bodies. All foods contain calories which provide us with the energy we need to go to school, think and play. My Plate wants us to make good choices about the kinds of calories that we eat. Some calories, such as those in sugary snacks or junk foods, don't give us the energy that we really need and often make us feel more tired and lazy because we don't have the fuel we need to make our bodies work properly.

  4. Display the Fruits and Veggies poster on the overhead or document camera. Ask the students to think about how half of the plate in the first visual is fruits and vegetables. Why would this be true? Why is it important to eat more fruits and vegetables than anything else? Refer back to the My Plate graphic. Ask students if they notice anything is missing? Give them some time to guess/think. If they don't point it out, show them how candy, potato chips and other junk foods are not included on My Plate. Why would that be true? (Because junk foods give us empty calories as previously discussed.)

  5. Give a copy of the Decorate my Plate Graphic and Cards to each student. Have students work individually or in pairs to create a plate of food for either a mid-day or evening meal. Remind them that they want to get the most healthy food for the calories that they are using. As students are determining where to put them on the plate, be sure to roam and ask students about their choices. Why would one item be a better choice over another. Also be sure to correct misconceptions if students accidentally put a product in the wrong category (ie if they put cottage cheese in protein rather than dairy).

  6. Once the students have glued their choices onto their plate, group students by counting off by 4s or 5s (depending upon class count). You want to be sure students are not sharing with someone they sit near normally. Have the new groups compare their plate selections. What are they noticing? Are there things that everyone selected or things that no one selected? What were the reasonings behind some of the choices made? The discussion here is important for students to be able to back up the reasons why they may have selected strawberries over Takis.

  7. Students may return to their original seats. Remind them of the book The Girl in the Yellow Dress. Ask them who decided to help the girl. First, her principal helped, and the prinicipal got other people involved. Then Kids' Food Basket was founded in order to help children combat childhood hunger. Ask the students if they think that Kids' Food Basket has to follow the same food guidelines as My Plate? Why or why not?

  8. Pass out the Sack Supper Comparison sheet to each student. Tell students that they are going to use what they learned from the Decorate my Plate activity to compare the food guidelines to what is in the Sack Supper from Kids' Food Basket. Have the students complete this activity independently. You really want to be able to see if they have made connections as to what foods are the ones we really want to eat. Ask students to really think about the last question on the sheet and provide evidence for their answer. Before turning the activity pages in, discuss what things the students think might be missing from the sack, if anything.

  9. Day Two

  10. Tell the students some facts about kids who are hungry in the local area. See facts shared in Lesson One from the Feeding America website. Discuss why it is important when helping families get the food they need that they are given healthy foods from the MyPlate categories. Ask the students to describe how kids might be affected if they didn't eat enough or only ate unhealthy foods. (They might have illness or trouble focusing in school.)

  11. Tell the students that they have time, talent, and/or treasure (money or things to donate) that can help kids who are hungry in their own community. Brainstorm with the students things that young people can do. Encourage them to be creative when thinking of things to do. Either arrange for a volunteer experience or let the students plan a volunteer/fundraising project. The more the students have a choice and voice in planning, the more meaningful the experience will be for them. For example, the Kids' Food Basket website has lots of ideas for preparing and donating foods for their Sack Supper program. Local food pantries often share their wish list on their websites. Students may volunteer to work at the Kids' Food Basket or Food Pantry or they may plan a food drive or creative fundraiser.

  12. Make a plan with the students and carry out the plan.

  13. After the volunteer experience, discuss the importance of providing healthy foods when creating meals for families who are hungry. Discuss whether all the foods they saw were healthy and part of the MyPlate guidelines. Are there possible areas of improvement?

  14. Have the students reflect on what they learned about healthy eating and about their ability to help others with their time or donations. Discuss what they might do next.


Use the Decorate My Plate activity to assess students' understanding of which foods and food groups should be making up the bulk of their diet. If students are choosing foods like Takis and Hot Cheetos, you will want to revisit the food guidelines and discuss how much more food they get to eat when making healthier choices. For example, you can eat 2 cups of leafy greens and a half cup of strawberries and still not come close to the calories in the snacky foods.