Skip Navigation

Good For You


Learn about foods that are good for you.

Background for Teachers

TERMS: Nutrient rich - Foods that supply the body with a high amount of nutrients in relation to the calories they provide. Ont the other hand, "nutrient poor" foods are a greater source of calories than the are of nutrients needed for a healthy body. Nutrient rich foods come form the Grains, Cereals, and Bread Group; form the Milk, Yogurt and Cheese Group; from the Fruit Group; from the Vegetable Group, and from the Meat, Poultry, Beans and Eggs Group. Generally, "nutrient poor" foods come from the Fats, Oils and Sweets Group.

Instructional Procedures


  • nutri009.pdf
    Albert Berghetti Activity - Albert Berghetti is a fun poem about spaghetti.
  • nutri014.gif
    Sugar Content Table - A great comparison table showing the different amounts of sugar found in a vareity of foods.
  • nutri015.pdf
    Traffic Signals Worksheet - This clipart provides the traffic sign patterns for students who are learning to navigate safely through and around the many diet dangers they will come across.
  • nutri016.gif
    Balance Scale - A simple balance scale to illustrate the importance of balance in your diet.
  • nutri017.pdf
    Nutritionary - The object of this nutrition "pictionary" game is to see who can be the first to guess the fruit or vegetable being drawn.
  • nutri067.pdf
    Fat Chart Table - A comparison chart showing the different amounts of fat found in a vareity of foods.


  • Nutrition Education K-6 Table of Contents
    Nutrition curriculum with overview, recipes, songs, list of resources, bibliograpy, food pyramid, puppet pattern, and great clip art as well as a list of related lesson plans.

An easy way to think of nutrient rich foods is to think of the fog. When where is fog, the air is so full of moisture that we cannot see very far. When a food in nutrient rich, it is full of nutrients.

See preface material including clip art, songs, and other resources.

INTRODUCTION: Let's pretend we're going on a trip. You must pack your own suitcase. You pack some games to play, a baseball, your mitt, a candy bar, and other fun things. When you get to grandma's it is snowing, but you didn't pack your jacket. When it was time for bed, you didn't have your toothbrush or pajamas. When you woke up in the morning your clothes were all wrinkled and you didn't have anything else to wear. Eating correctly is much like this story. It might be fun to eat not-so-healthy foods for a while. However, your body will soon tire of these foods and demand something more nutritious or nutrient rich.

An easy way to think of nutrient rich foods is to think of the fog. When where is fog, the air is so full of moisture that we cannot see very far. When a food in nutrient rich, it is full of nutrients.

Show two displays on a table. One side should show several healthy snack foods: vegetable strips, fruit chunks, bagels, cheese, juice, etc. The other display should show not-so-healthy snacks: soda pop, potato chips, doughnuts, cookies, cake, candy bars, etc. Display the food pyramid. Ask the students which snacks they like the best. Have them identify the food group in which their favorite snack belongs. The nutritious snacks are nutrient rich. The foods from the fats, oils and sweets group are nutrient poor. (Remind the students that nutrients are the substances inside food that make our skin, bones, muscles, and bodies healthy.) Explain that when we eat not-so-healthy foods, they fill our stomachs and then we have little room for the foods that are full of the vitamins, minerals, and proteins necessary for our bodies to grow and develop.

One way to remember the function of the foods we eat is to use the words GO, GLOW< and GROW. The grain group helps us GO (carbohydrates for energy), the milk and meat groups help our bones and muscles GROW. The fruits and vegetable groups help us have a healthy GLOW (healthy skin, eyes, etc.).

Have each student decide on a nutritious snack he/she enjoys. Explain to the students that most cookies should be placed in the fat group, not in the grain group. This is because they do not have enough nutrients to balance the amount of sugar and fat they contain. One gram of fat is equal to the weight of a regular paper clip. You may wish to have the students try to identify the amounts of fat and sugar found in the snacks listed below before you tell them the correct amounts. IT would be desirable to have the actual food items on the table. As you discuss each one, place the correct number of paper clips and the correct amount of sugar next to the food.

12 oz. soda pop 0 8-12
Scoop ice cream 1-5 4
Popcorn without butter 0 0
Chocolate bar (regular size) 3-4 8
10 French fries 8 0
Carrot sticks 0 0
Apple or banana 0 0

You may wish to review the resources "SUGAR CONTENT" 7-1 and "FAT CHART 7-1B" for additional information. One teaspoon of fat equals four grams. One teaspoon of sugar equals five grams.

TRAFFIC SIGNALS: Explain that all of the food groups on the food pyramid provide our bodies with essential nutrients. Healthy foods are called nutrient rich, because they are packed with the nutrients our bodies need. Look at the suggested serving amounts for each of these groups. The foods in the bottom five groups should be eaten frequently during the day. The foods in the Fats, Oils, and Sweets Group should be eaten sparingly. Explain that this means they should be eaten only once in a while; not at every meal, for every snack, or every day. Have students identify their favorite snacks. Play "Traffic Signals" with the students, as explained below:

A. Let each student make his/her own traffic signs, using the patterns found on worksheet 7-2. He/she should color the signs the appropriate color, then cut them out and mount them on popsicle sticks. Patterns for large traffic signals have been included for the teacher to use.

B. As a favorite snack is named, list it on the board.

C. After all the snacks have been named, randomly select a snack from the list on the board. If the students think the food is a healthy food that can be eaten often, they should raise their green signs. If the food is a healthy food that should be eaten in smaller amounts, they should raise their yellow signs. If this food should be eaten only sparingly, they should raise their red signs.
(TEACHER INFORMATION: GREEN foods are all groups except fats and sweets group or foods with added fat and sugar. YELLOW foods are foods from the fats and sweets group. RED foods are large amount of fats and sweets group, or foods from this group that are eaten before eating the rest of the pyramid groups. For example you can eat a cookie, but only after you have eaten the correct amounts of milk, grains, meat, fruits and vegetables for the day.)

D. After going through the list the first time and discussing the foods with the class, have them play the game again as you identify the snacks more quickly.

3. FOOD COMMERCIALS: Ask the students to think of the food commercials they see on television. Use the comparison cards to see if the foods they name are nutrient rich. Ask them if they see a difference in the types of foods advertised during the evening and those shown on Saturday morning. Explain how producers of products children like buy the commercial time when children will be watching the television. Not all of the foods are as nutritious as they make them appear. They must be careful to choose healthy foods.

BULLETIN BOARD: Make a bulletin board, using food labels from nutrient poor and nutrient rich foods. Let the students bring labels from home. Use the balance scale poster (Balance Scale, &-4). On the side of the scale that is weighted down, show pictures of labels of foods that are nutrient rich. On the side that is up in the air, place the nutrient empty foods. Let the children decide upon a title for the bulletin board. Emphasize the benefit of eating nutrient rich foods.

LUNCHROOM MENU: Ask the school lunchroom staff to provide you with a copy of the foods to be served in the cafeteria for on week. Give a copy to each pair of students. Instruct them to check each foods, and mark it either nutrient rich (+), or nutrient poor (-). You may wish to use the comparison cards to show this information in a visual manner the children can understand. Show how an entire meal should be balanced.

NUTRITIONARY: (See cards, "Nutritionary", 7-6) Play Nutritionary using the following nutrient rich foods:

Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream
Chicken, peanut butter, fish, eggs, hamburger patty
Broccoli, corn, carrots, potato, tomato, lettuce
Grapes, orange, banana, strawberry, watermelon, cherries
Roll, bread, spaghetti noodles, taco shell, corn flakes, waffle


a. Students must draw a picture of a food without speaking.
b. Students cannot label the food, but can use different colored crayons/chalk to color the picture.
c. The time limit for drawing a picture is one minute.
d. To compete, divide the class into two groups, or have one person compete against the entire class.
e. The students play this game by calling out the name of the food or the name of the food group in which it belongs. If they answer correctly, they get to answer another question. If their answer is incorrect, their turn is over.

WHAT FOOD AM I? Write the names of various foods on cards (or use food models). Pin one card on the back of a student. He/she must then try to identify the food on his/her back by asking yes or no questions such as:

Am I nutrient rich?
What food group am I in?
Do you eat me hot or cold?
Am I a plant or from an animal?
Do you eat me for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Save obvious questions related to color and flavor until the very end.

FOOD COMPARISONS: Show the students several different comparison cards from each the food groups with the names of the foods covered.

a. Have them look for similarities in the nutrient content of the foods.
b. See if they can name any of the foods.
Example: Put the cards that contain calcium together and ask "What food group do you think this is?"
c. Have the students place the unlabeled cards in food groups.
d. Have the following sets of cards grouped so students can see the similarities and variety available in each group.

1. carrots, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, potato
2. orange juice, pineapple, grapefruit juice, banana, strawberries
3. milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese
4. breads, rice, pasta, cereal (not a fortified one)
5. Ground beef, egg, fish, refried beans, peanut butter
6. pizza--several foods groups are usually included

e. Compare the following foods:

orange juice and pop
banana and Jell-o
potato chips, and fries

ALBERT BERGHETTI: Have students make an "Albert Berghetti" art project. Show the comparison card for spaghetti and discuss the nutrition in it. For instructions, see Student Activity 7-9.

STORY AND SNACK: Tell the class the story of Ms. Wetzel. Ms. Wetzel was a wonderful teacher! All of her students loved her very much. She read exciting stories everyday and let the students play many games and have long recesses. But the thing that everyone liked best about Ms. Wetzel, was her candy jar. Everyone knew that Ms. Wetzel kept candy on her desk. If you were quiet, participated in class, or gave a good answer to a question, she would toss you a piece of candy. Her students worked very hard to be well-behaved and earn candy from Ms. Wetzel. One day, Ms. Wetzel went to a meeting for teachers. It was a meeting about how to teach children to be healthy. They explained that it was important to exercise and eat healthy foods. They told the teachers that it was not good for children to eat candy very often. If children ate candy and did not brush their teeth, they could get cavities in their teeth. This made Ms. Wetzel worried. She thought about all the candy she had given to her class. She loved the children and did not want them to get cavities, but she liked to give the children a special treat. What would she do, now?

Ask the children what Ms. Wetzel could do.

On the way home from her meeting, Ms. Wetzel thought of a plan. She could still give the students a special treat, but it should be a treat without lots of sugar and fat in it. She knew just what to do. She stepped at the grocery store and went in. She passes up the candy isle. She walked past the cookies. She didn't even look at the rows of gum. Instead she went to a different part of store to buy a special treat. Can anyone guess what it was? I'll give you a hint: the name of this treat rhymes with the name of the teacher. Can you tell me what it was? That's right!!! Ms. Wetzel bought pretzels. There were many kinds of pretzels. Each week she would fill her candy jar with a different type of pretzels. She explained to her students that she loved them and did not want to give them not-so-healthy treats. Pretzels would be a good treat and show her students that she cared about them. From then on, Ms. Wetzel had a new name. What do you think it was? Oh, you guessed again--Ms. Pretzel.

Let the students taste different types of pretzels as their snack.

EVALUATION: Have students identify two foods in each food group (with the exception of the fat group) that are nutrient rich, or complete the traffic signals activity.

Created: 12/30/1996
Updated: 02/03/2018