Good Nutrition

Energize Me -Food & Nutrition Lesson Plan for Kids

In this activity, students will make the connection between good nutrition and energy, with an “energy” metaphor to launch discussion about food as “fuel” for doing the things they love to do. Then, they’ll investigate healthy foods that offer nutritional boosts and power!

Two children smiling on garden swing


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Goals and Skills

Students Will:

  • Explain the connection between food and energy
  • Identify healthy foods that “fuel” the body
  • Select favorite recipe and food group based on text provided


Supplies and Preparation:

  • Whiteboard or chart paper
  • Download the MyPlate icon from


Background for Teachers

Visit USDA’s to download the MyPlate icon, for more information onnutrition, and for a list of healthy foods in each of the five food groups. Check out the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 at

5 different foods. Text says "dietary guidelines for americans 2015-2020 eighth edition"

Instruction Steps

Exploratory Questions.

Start a class discussion by asking the following questions:

  • What is “energy”?
  • What kinds of things run on energy?

For example - battery-powered toys (batteries), cars (gasoline),cell phones (batteries),TVs (electricity). Explain that people also need and use energy to blink their eyes, talk, move their arms, legs, and to run and play

  • What do you think gives people energy?
  • What does it feel like when you don’t have any energy?


“Energy” Explorers.

Explain that the best sources of energy for people are foods that have many nutrients. We can’t see nutrients, so the best way to make sure we get them is by eating a variety of foods from all five food groups every day.


List the five food groups on the board: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, and Dairy. Next, brainstorm a variety of foods from each food group with your students. For example:

  • Colorful fruits and vegetables (like broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, berries, bananas, apples)
  • Protein (like lean meat, chicken, fish, beans, nuts, tofu)
  • Whole grains (like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, cereals, bread, tortillas)
  • Low-fat dairy (like low- fat milk, yogurt, cheese)


List the foods from each food group on the board or chart paper. Ask students to share what their favorite food or beverage is from each food group and why.


Foods with lots of fat and sugar (like donuts, bacon, ice cream, cookies) don’t have as many good nutrients to help keep you energized throughout the day and should be eaten only some of the time.

A bowl of cereal and milk with bananas raspberries strawberries and blackberries

Energy Snacks.

Ask students: What is your favorite activity for which you need lots of energy? What could you eat as a meal or snack to give you energy?


Have students collaborate with a partner to combine foods from each of the five food groups as an energy snack.


Extend the Lesson.

Have students explore to find healthy recipes they want to try. Invite students to select the recipes that look tastiest to them and print them out.


Have students work in pairs to share and read their recipes together. Then have each student ask one another the following questions: Why did you pick this recipe? Which recipe do you want to try the most? Have students take home their healthy recipes to share with their families.


Home Connection.

Challenge students to check out their refrigerators and pantry shelves at home with their parents to find “energy boosters.” Remind them that they can use the MyPlate icon and resources at for ideas.


Have them work with their parents to list 5-10 foods and beverages, and then bring their lists back to class. As follow-up, chart the foods that appear on most lists.


As a class, evaluate the following:

  • Which foods were most popular in students’ homes?
  • Which were found less often?
  • What new and nutritious foods might students like to try for the first time?


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