MyPlate, introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a helpful tool for teaching students about healthy eating habits. MyPlate emphasizes building a balanced meal based on different food groups to ensure that we receive the necessary nutrients. Engaging students in MyPlate activities can help them better understand and appreciate the importance of proper nutrition. Here are 19 innovative and fun MyPlate activities that can be implemented in your classroom.
1. MyPlate Coloring Pages: Provide coloring pages featuring the MyPlate icon for younger students to color while discussing each food group.
2. Food Group Sorting: Have students sort a selection of pictures or plastic food items into their corresponding food groups on a large MyPlate poster.
3. MyPlate Relay Race: Organize an active relay race where students must run to obtain food items and place them in the correct group on a large-scale version of MyPlate.
4. Healthy Menu Planning: Allow older students to create a healthy menu for a week using guidelines from the MyPlate website.
5. Create Your Own Plate: Provide students with paper plates and ask them to draw or collage their ideal healthy meal based on the MyPlate guidelines.
6. Grocery Trip Adventure: Take a field trip to the grocery store and have students identify MyPlate-approved foods and discuss which aisles contain which category of food.
7. Food Group Bingo: Play bingo using pictures or words representing different foods in each square, teaching about various options within each food group.
8. Exploring New Foods: Each week, introduce one new and unfamiliar food item from a specific food group, allowing students to taste, touch, and smell it before learning more about its nutritional value.
9. MyPlate Skits: Assign small groups distinct scenarios highlighting poor dietary choices, challenging them to rewrite these scenes with healthier meal options using guidelines from MyPlate.
10. Nutrient Check-In: At snack or lunchtime, have students review their food choices and identify which nutrients are being provided by their selections.
11. MyPlate Trivia: Host a trivia game covering the basics of MyPlate and the benefits of eating balanced meals.
12. Grow Your Own Food: Plant a small classroom garden featuring some fruits, vegetables, or herbs students can later sample and discuss as a class.
13. Family Recipes Revamped: Ask students to bring in a favorite recipe from home, identifying ways to improve its nutritional value using MyPlate suggestions.
14. Food Group Charades: Have students act out various food items while their classmates guess both the food and its food group.
15. MyPlate Scavenger Hunt: Hide pictures of different foods around the room, challenging students to find new and unique representations for each food group.
16. Guest Speaker Series: Invite local dieticians or nutrition professionals to speak with your class about implementing healthy eating habits in everyday life.
17. Cultural Food Exploration: Explore different cultural dishes, having students identify which components correspond to each food group on MyPlate.
18. Customized MyPlate: Teach students about portion sizes for specific age groups by crafting personalized versions of MyPlate based on their age, gender, and activity levels.
19. Nutrition Journaling: Have students track their meals for one week and analyze how they align with the MyPlate recommendations for healthy eating.
Teaching students about balanced meal planning as per MyPlate guidelines promotes healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. By engaging them in fun, interactive activities related to nutrition, you can help reinforce these concepts in a way that extends beyond the classroom walls. Happy teaching!