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Food Pyramid and Dietary Guidelines

Main Core Tie

Food And Nutrition
Strand 6 Standard 1

Additional Core Ties

Food And Nutrition
Strand 6 Standard 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 45 minutes each


Esther Larson


Students will learn about the Food Guide Pyramid and Dietary Guidelines by looking at samples of serving sizes and filling out worksheets.



1. Food Guide Pyramid Worksheet 2. Dietary Guidelines Worksheet

Background for Teachers



1. Aim for a healthy weight.

Dangers of improper weight:

  • Being underweight causes bone damage, nutrient deficiencies, organ failure, hair loss, skin changes, constipation, menstrual irregularities, and infertility.
  • Being overweight causes high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

2. Be physically active each day (Losing more than 1-2 pounds a week is not healthy.)


1. Let the Pyramid guide your choices.

2. Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains. Whole grains contain a greater variety of nutrients and more fiber than other grains)

3. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.

4. Keep food safe to eat by keeping the food preparation and eating areas, utensils, and hands clean.

  • Avoid cross contamination
  • Avoid the bacterial danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees.


1. Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat. Health risks from a high-fat diet are obesity, heart disease, diabetes, forms of cancer, and high blood cholesterol levels.

Tips for reducing fat:

  • Substitute lean meats, fish, legumes, etc. for fatty meats.
  • Trim off fat and skin on meat.
  • Drink fat-free milk instead of whole.
  • Bake, broil, or boil instead of frying your foods.
  • Use cream, margarine, butter, and eggs in moderation.

2. Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugar.

3. Choose and prepare foods with less salt.

Dangers of hypertension (blood pressure over 140/90): It causes an increase in the risk of heart disease. Avoid high salt-content food. Canned and frozen foods have added salt, so fresh food is the best.

4. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation

Instructional Procedures

1. Food Sort (5 min.): Give the students a worksheet covered with the words of different foods. The students circle the foods that they like and regularly eat. Then the paper is folded into six parts. Each area represents a food group. The students can then see what kind of foods they are eating.

2. Pyramid Sort (20 min.): On each table put a variety of Nasco plastic foods. Hand out the worksheets. As you check each group, have the students pick out all the food at their tables that belong in that group. Then have all groups hold up their food so every one can see what kind of foods belong in each group. When you talk about serving sizes they can see what they have at their tables. Have them guess serving sizes by the examples on their tables. As you lecture have them fill in the worksheet.

3. Dietary Guidelines (20 min.): Hand out the Dietary Guideline worksheet. Have students fill in the worksheet as you discuss each of the guidelines.


1. Adventures in Food and Nutrition by Carol Byrd-Bredbenner 2. The World of Food by Eva Medved 3. Sue Reber

Created: 05/05/2003
Updated: 02/05/2018