My Plate

Design a healthy plate using the five food groups.

About the Activity

Imagine you are cooking your own healthy meal. Which foods would you put on your plate? In this activity, kids will learn about the five main food groups and the importance of a balanced diet.

Tucson Village Farm (TVF) is an urban farm built by and for the youth of Pima County Arizona. It was developed in partnership with the Pima County Cooperative Extension and the University of Arizona. A great way to start this activity is to learn about the different food groups by watching the TVF My Plate Video.

Grades: 3-5
Topic: Agriculture, Healthy Living
Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Brought to you by Walmart Foundation and University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

A variety of healthy foods

These simple materials will get you started.

  • Paper plate
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • A food magazine or circular (or colored pencils, markers, or crayons to draw food)
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Activity Steps
Follow these steps to create your own healthy meal.

  1. First, take a look at the plate graphic to see the sections that you’re going to draw on your plate.Did you know? The five food groups are vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins.
  2. Now that you know what you are drawing, take your pencil and draw four sections on your plate for vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. Be sure that the sections on your plate match the sections in the example.Did you know? Half of your plate should contain fruits and vegetables. These foods contain the fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Learn more about fruits and vegetables from TVF by visiting here.
Someone packing their lunch
  1. Don’t forget your dairy! Using a sheet of paper or another paper plate, cut out a circle to create your dairy section.Did you know? Dairy contains nutrients like calcium which helps you to build and maintain healthy bones. Learn more from TVF about dairy here.
  2. Once you’ve mapped out space on your plate, be sure to label each section with the food group’s name.Did you know? The food groups were created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  3. Now it’s time to add some food to your plate. Check out our suggestions on which types of food can fit into each group. Then, cut out food from your magazine or draw each food in the section it belongs to. Remember that balance is important, so be sure to put together a meal that is diverse in color and flavor!

Reflection Questions
Questions for your kids and teens.

  1. What are some foods around your house that belong to the five food groups?
  2. Why is a balanced diet important to your health?
  3. Why do you think that there are no junk foods, like candy or sugary drinks, in any of the food groups?
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Investigate and Explore
Take what you've learned to the next level to learn more and explore the possibilities.

Eating well-balanced meals is a great way to grow strong and healthy. For decades there has been a scientific connection between food and overall health. These studies have proven that foods like fruits and vegetables can help to maintain a healthy body and prevent chronic diseases. So the next time you go to make a plate or grab a snack, remember that your food is your fuel, and every bite counts!

A kid and parent working on a laptop

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