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Food Pyramid Lab

Main Core Tie

Food And Nutrition 1
Strand 6 Standard 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 90 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups




This lab will review the Food Guide Pyramid and will give the students an opportunity to prepare a food item from all of the food groups within the Food Guide Pyramid.


Overheads for review of Nutrients:

Fats and Cholesterol


My Personal Food Diary
Taco Soup Recipe
Hidden Foods

Ingredients needed for each individual group of four students:

1/2 lb. ground beef (Premeasured and wrapped in wax paper)
1/4 large onion
2 - 3 tbs. taco seasoning
2/3 cup stewed tomatoes or diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup kidney beans
1 cup water
1 cup cheese
8 olives
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 bag of Fritos

Background for Teachers

Know the nutrients in foods - Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber and Water. If possible, show some pictures of deficiencies.

Know the Food Guide Pyramid.

Prepare lab for students: prepackage ground beef into 1/2 lb. packages; cut 1 onion into four pieces; two units can easily share 1/3 to 1/2 package of the taco seasoning; depending on the size of class - you can use a #10 can of diced tomatoes for all to share; 1 can of tomato sauce per unit; open cans of - corn, kidney beans, and olives; from a block of cheese cut into pieces (number of units) and wrap in plastic wrap; pint of sour cream; and have 3 units share one large bag of fritos.

Student Prior Knowledge

Know the Food Guide Pyramid, how to read a recipe, safety and sanitation in the lab.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will evaluate their diets using the dietary guidelines and the food guide pyramid. Prepare a meal using all of the food groups within the food guide pyramid.

Instructional Procedures

Using the overheads, review with the students the nutrients from food. Take about 10 - 15 minutes.

Major Assignment: Evaluate a personal dietary intake of three consecutive days according to the food pyramid and dietary guidelines. It is worth 100 points. Identify the Due date.

Discuss with them: (In order to identify any personal eating problems or behaviors, one must be able to see some pattern and identify them and then they can decide for themselves if one must change and modify a behavior or not; that is why we are writing it down)

Time - How many meals a day do they eat, do they eat one meal all day long?
Foods eaten and amount - Note proportion sizes; small, medium or large serving sizes. List any food or drink they put into their mouth. I want them to eat as normally as possible and not eat because they have to write it down.
Location where eating - Do they eat only in the kitchen, or on the go in the car? Do they eat watching TV or in the bedroom or bathroom getting ready to go out?
Eating with whom - Do they eat by themselves, or with certain people? Are they afraid to eat around some people (dates)?
Exercise done - Identify the hours of exercise during the 3 day period whether it is a planned activity or not. Maybe they do no exercise throughout the day.
Amount of sleep - Identify the hours of sleep they got during the 3 day period. Recommended to get at least 8 hours a night.

From their food diary, the student will complete a separate evaluation for each of the three days on each separate chart on how balanced their eating was according to the food pyramid by identifying which food group it was, number of servings (serving sizes) and whether they got the recommended servings or not.

Then have them answer the questions to the written evaluation on the last page. Please note: They will have to begin this assignment at least three days before it is due. Explanation of assignment should take at least 15 minutes.

Lab - Have the ingredients ready so the students can prepare the Taco Soup. Hand out lab sheet. Read and go over the lab. Allow the students enough time to prepare, eat and clean-up before leaving. Turn in Lab sheets.

Hidden Foods - A review activity to be completed and filled out and to be corrected in class. They can work on this as they have time during the lab.

Created: 06/24/2003
Updated: 02/05/2018