Making Healthy Eating Choices for You and Others

3, 4, 5

Students identify the USDA food guide as a source for guidelines about eating a nutritionally balanced diet. They identify foods and categorize them by food group in a game. My Plate and the guidelines were designed for consumers of food in the United States and might not be an appropriate guide for all regions of the world.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will

  • identify the different food groups and give examples of each.
  • recognize that MyPlate is designed for U.S. diets and may not be appropriate for other countries.
  • develop an awareness of limited food resources globally.
  • poster of the USDA Choose MyPlate 
  • bell for game
  • optional extension: copies of the handout Undernourishment and Life Expectancy Around the World
  • fruits: the edible body of a seed plant, usually with sweet pulp
  • food guide pyramid: a guide published by the USDA to help people understand the components of a healthy diet
  • grain: the seeds or fruits of a cereal grass
  • health: the state of being in sound body, mind, and spirit
  • nutrition: the process of nourishing to maintain health and growth
  • vegetables: an herbaceous plant, grown for its edible part
  • scarcity: the lack of a resource, such as money, food, education, or housing.

Have students reflect on the health of their own diet. Have them write a statement that analyzes how well they eat. Then have them write what barriers they face to eating as healthy as they would like to eat. They may also include ways they can overcome the barriers.

Bibliography "map the meal" Scroll over the different states to see their hunger statistics and compare Practice basic skills while earning rice for hungry people worldwide

Heifer International A nonprofit that provides livestock and training to families in need. 

World Health Organization Hunger Factsheet facts about the current state of international hunger

USDA “Choose MyPlate”


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Write "Carrot, Apple, Chocolate Chip Cookie" on a display board.

    Ask students to show by hand which of these snacks they would choose right now. Record the number next to each item. Then ask them to show by raising their hands which snack is the most healthy snack. Record the second number under each item. Ask students to compare and contrast the numbers, and discuss why the difference.

    Ask them how people know what to eat in a healthy diet.

    Show the Choose MyPlate website and tell them the US government provides this as a guide to help them make healthy food choices. Ask them to identify the categories and name some foods they like to eat that fit each category.

  2. Tell them that MyPlate is designed for a U.S. diet. Ask them why the food pyramid might not be a good guideline for another country. 

  3. Play a game called “name that food group.” To play, divide the group into two teams.

    1. Have one person from each team come to the front of the room at a time.
    2. Place a bell between the two players.
    3. When you name a food, the first player to ring the bell names the food group to which the food belongs.
    4. If he or she cannot name the food group, the second team gets a chance to name the food group.
    5. The team whose player correctly names the food group receives a point.
    6. Play continues with new players until each child has had a turn.
    7. The team with the highest number of points wins the game.
  4. After the game, explain to the group that in order to grow and remain healthy it’s important for children and adults to eat a balanced diet, which means eating food from all of the food groups and also limiting foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

  5. Then ask them: Do you think that other countries could adopt this exact set of guidelines? Why or why not? During the discussion, lead students to the realization that people in other countries may have different or limited food resources and because of the scarcity of food do not have the same privilege of choice that most people in the U.S. have about what and how much they will eat.

  6. Tell them that they will learn more about food and other resources in the U.S. and in other countries in the following lessons.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.13 Describe limited resources and scarcity.