Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Food Pyramid Picnic

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


Teacher and students discuss the food pyramid and appropriate choices for each food group. Students then plan a nutritional meal for a picnic lunch and make a class book. As a culminating event, the class plans and enjoys a picnic.


The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes.

The student knows the nutritional values of different foods.


-Transparency of food pyramid
-Overhead projector
-Chart paper and pen
-Computers with word processors and printers
-Paper, pencils
-Lunch bags, one per child
-Book binding machine
-One book binding spiral
-Construction paper
-Planning Sheets (see attached file)


1. Gather materials and resources for the project.
2. Create and copy letters for parents.
3. Copy planning sheets.


Walk to the front of the room gently swinging a colorful lunchbox. Tell the class that you truly love Snickers candy bars or another type of candy, so you packed five of them for your lunch. Open the lunchbox to reveal the Snickers. Ask students if they think the candy bars would be a healthy lunch. Elicit students' thoughts about the appropriateness of your lunch and ask why they think the way they do. Elicit characteristics of a nutritious meal and the benefits of good eating habits. Explain that if the class learns how to plan a nutritious meal, there will be a picnic and each child can bring the lunch he or she plans.

1. Using the overhead and the transparency of the food pyramid, discuss the pyramid, suggested servings of each food group, and acceptable and unacceptable choices.

2. Brainstorm with students, elicit appropriate foods for each group, and list student responses on chart paper.

3. Explain that the students will plan a meal. Distribute blank food pyramid planning sheets. Students will fill in foods from the charts to plan a nutritious picnic lunch.

4. Distribute paper lunch bags, construction paper, crayons, and scissors. Instruct students to use their planning sheets to draw, color, and cut out the foods listed on them. When completed, have students place the items inside the lunch bags.

5. Next, have students write a short paragraph on notebook paper which completes the phrase: My favorite picnic lunch is _________. The paragraph will include food selections and the food groups to which they belong.

6. Provide time for students to peer conference, read, revise, and edit their paragraphs.

7. Have students write final copies or key them into a computer and print them. The printed paragraphs are then cut out and glued onto the front of each child's paper bag.

8. Bind the bags together using a book binding machine. Encourage students to title the book and display it in the classroom.

9. Decide upon a day for the class picnic. Send a letter to parents explaining the activity. On the designated day, have students bring their lunches and enjoy a picnic! (See attached file for supporting documents.)


The final product is assessed based on the following criteria:
-Students draw, color, and cut appropriate foods for each group on the food pyramid.
-Paragraphs include the foods the student selects and the food group to which it belongs.


Social Studies - Read [This Is The Way We Eat Our Lunch], by Edith Baer, Scholastic, Inc., 1995. It's about lunches of American children and children of other countries. It could be used to teach cultural differences and geography.
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