Healthy Meal Planning Ideas for Teachers
MyPlate is a great way to teach your students about how to maintain a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle, and the appropriate foods to eat in a day. MyPlate is a meal planning tool developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help individuals make healthier food choices and maintain a balanced diet. It offers a simple, visual representation of what a healthy plate should look like, with a focus on the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Read on for My Plate meal plan templates and more!
MyPlate is an excellent guide for students because it provides an easy-to-understand framework for building a nutritious meal, and it can help them make informed choices about their food options. By using MyPlate meal plan templates, students can learn how to create balanced meals that include healthy food that meet their dietary needs and support their overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of using My Plate meal plan templates and provide tips on how to use them effectively to plan nutritious meals.
We have a full My Plate meal plan template in our TPT store that you can have students use to create a healthy daily meal plan. This has students learn about what they need to include in their diet each day, their calorie allowance, and suggested foods. It has the students record meal plans in Google. This helps students focus on real-life health goals so that their habits are headed in the right direction.
MyPlate Nutrition Activity Ideas for the Classroom
To begin, have students write down their favorite foods that they love to eat each day. Have them use the MyPlate website to find out what food group their favorites fall under if any! This will help them identify which foods they eat are healthy and which are fast food or foods with added sugars.
Have students shop for daily MyPlate meals on a budget! We have a lesson that has students “shop” in our “store” using a budget of $10 after determining their ideal MyPlate day of meals. This helps them choose better choices both considering health and money using grocery lists.
Other ways to explore the MyPlate website include:
- Cooking Challenge: Challenge students to create a healthy meal using the MyPlate guidelines and recipes from the website. Students can work in pairs or small groups to plan and prepare their delicious meals, and then share their creations with the class that meets nutrient needs.
- Research Project: Have students research a specific food group or nutrient and create a presentation or poster showcasing what they learned. They can use the MyPlate website as a resource to gather information and statistics about different foods and their nutritional value.
- Nutrition Webquest: Have students complete a scavenger hunt through numerous websites about dietary guidelines and nutritional needs. We love this activity because it makes a great sub plan or a homeschool activity for middle school health because it is self-paced.
- Investigate Nutrition Information in Foods: Have students analyze foods from the grocery store by reading nutrition labels. You can take it a step further and have them consider dietary accommodations including someone that requires a gluten-free diet. We have a free nutritional needs activity in which students match the nutritional needs with the correct person. Download by clicking on the image below.
5. Collaborative Recipe Book: Ask each student to select a healthy recipe from the MyPlate website and create a small recipe card with the ingredients and instructions. Then, collect all the recipe cards and compile them into a class recipe book. This can be a fun way for students to explore new healthy recipes and share their favorite dishes with their peers. This is a great way for students to have an easy cookbook when they plan meals at home or in college for everyday life.
Learning about Unhealthy Fast Food
One fun way to learn about the unhealthy aspects of fast food is by organizing a “Fast Food Nutrition Showdown” activity. Here’s how you can set it up:
- Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a popular fast food restaurant chain.
- Ask each group to research the nutritional content of several menu items from their assigned chain, including calorie count, amount of food in serving, fat content, and sugar content.
- Have each group create a poster or presentation showcasing their findings and comparing the nutritional content of their assigned chain’s menu items.
- Set up a “nutrition showdown” where each group presents their findings and the class votes on which chain’s food items are the most unhealthy.
- After the presentation, have a class discussion about the health risks associated with consuming too much fast food and the importance of making healthy food choices.
This activity can help students understand the nutritional content of fast food and the impact it can have on their health. It can also encourage students to make healthy choices and be more mindful of their eating habits.
FREE Nutrition Activities for Middle School
Check out our FREE nutrition middle school activity that has students cracking codes to learn about the sugar content in foods. It is a no-prep digital escape room that your students will love! It takes about 20 minutes and you can easily assign it for a sub plan or as a nutrition review activity. Read more about digital escape rooms!
Physical Fitness and MyPlate Meal Planning
Teaching students the importance of physical activity can help them lead healthier, happier lives. By making physical activity fun and accessible, you can encourage them to make exercise a regular part of their daily routine. Learning about how an active lifestyle plays a role in a healthy meal plan is essential.
- Help students set goals and track their progress in physical activity. Celebrate successes and provide support when needed.
- Create infographics: Assign students to create infographics that showcase the benefits of physical activity in a visually engaging way. They can use statistics, images, and other visual elements to illustrate their points.
- Conduct interviews: Have students interview athletes, fitness experts, or healthcare professionals to get their insights on the benefits of physical activity. Students can present their findings in a written report or a multimedia presentation. This can be a great addition to your nutrition unit.
In conclusion, incorporating the MyPlate meal plan and regular physical activity into their lives can have a positive impact on the overall health and well-being of high school students.
By making healthy food choices and staying active, students can improve their physical health, mental health, and academic performance. As educators, it’s important to encourage and support students in their efforts to prioritize their health and make positive lifestyle choices. By doing so, we can help them develop lifelong habits that will serve them well into adulthood. Check out our healthy recipe ideas for the classroom!