Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Meet the Five Food Groups

Martha Cordell
Bay District Schools


This lesson is designed to invite first grade students to identify the five food groups and the foods within each group as shown on the food pyramid.


The student describes a wide variety of classification schemes and patterns related to physical characteristics and sensory attributes, such as rhythm, sound, shapes, colors, numbers, similar objects, similar events.

The student classifies food and food combinations according to the Food Guide Pyramid.


-Books such as
Loreen Leedy. [The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day]. Holiday House, 1994.
Sharmat, Mitchell. [Gregory the Terrible Eater]. Scholastic, l980.
-Manipulatives of foods from the food pyramid (See Preparations)
-Paper and pencil
-Food pictures or empty food packages representing each of the five food groups
-Chart paper with the Food Guide Pyramid drawn on it
-Student copies of a blank Food Guide Pyramid
-Student journals


1. Research background information on the five food groups and why there are five instead of four. Research key nutrients for each group. Note that nutrient-rich foods are now classified into five food groups: milk, meat, vegetable, fruit, and grain.
2. Gather manipulatives of foods for students to handle. Lakeshore Learning Materials ( has a Food and Nutrition Theme Box (item # LA452) which contains various manipulative food items.
3. Cut out pictures of food from magazines.
4. Acquire magazines from which students can also cut out pictures of food.
5. Prepare a chart with the Food Guide Pyramid for the lesson.
6. Prepare individual copies of the Food Guide Pyramid to distribute to students.


1. Introduce lesson by brainstorming with students what they know about the five food groups and the Food Guide Pyramid using the K-W-L procedure. Ask students what they (K)now about the five food groups and the food pyramid. Ask students what they (W)ant to learn about the five food groups and the Food Guide Pyramid. Read [The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day] to the entire class.

2. Explain: “You may have learned that there are four food groups, but there has been a change. Now, there are five food groups.”

3. Introduce pictures of the five food groups, what foods are included in them, and the Food Guide Pyramid. Let the students handle the manipulative food items.

4. Students take turns placing food items in the Food Guide Pyramid. With markers, draw a Food Guide Pyramid on chart paper. Students then choose pictures to place (glue) on the Food Guide Pyramid.

5. Give students paper with a blank Food Guide Pyramid and encourage them to cut out pictures from magazines to place on their own pyramid.

6. Discuss: “What do foods from the milk group have in common? Why don't eggs belong to the milk group? What characteristics do foods from each group have in common?”

7.Conclude the activity by reading one of the suggested books such as [Gregory the Terrible Eater]. Ask students, “What have you
(L)earned about the five food groups and the Food Guide Pyramid?” Students record reponses in their journals.


1. Students cut 10 pictures of food from magazines and place 8 out of 10 in the correct places within their Food Guide Pyramid.
2. Students categorize and sort out foods into the five food groups.
3. Students recite the acronym to teacher. (See Extensions)
4. Students write in their journals explaining their own Food Guide Pyramid and how they classified foods on it.


After the lesson, students learn an acronym to help them remember the five food groups.
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