Lesson 4 – A balanced meal

National Curriculum Links
All lesson plans link to the National Curriculum for Science in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Specific Curriculum Links are as follows:
  • Sc 2 Life Processes and Living Things
  • Science
    QCA Unit 3A Teeth and Eating
    QCA Unit 3B Helping Plants Grow Well
  • PSHE How to make simple choices that improve health and well-being
Key Learning Objectives
By the end of this lesson children will learn that:
  • An adequate and varied diet is needed to keep healthy.
  • Some foods are needed for growth and some are needed for activity and they will be able to name some of these foods.
  • Plants can provide food for us and some plants are grown for this.
  • Certain things are needed for a healthy lifestyle and they will learn the benefits of healthy eating.
  • Choices and decisions can be made about issues that affect their health.

This lesson plan has been designed for use with mixed ability groups and most students should be able to respond well to the suggested activities since much of the content involves student-centred, activity-based learning.

Below are some suggestions for making the module an effective learning tool for the whole class:

  • Less able children could draw what they had for their lunch yesterday and write a sentence to say whether it is healthy or not.
  • More able children could make a poster showing the different foods that could be eaten for growth or energy.

Teachers should be aware of the need for sensitivity to children and their families both in terms of diet and health, economic and cultural circumstances and in terms of not putting too much emphasis on body image.

Some Useful Websites

Lesson Plan – A Day in My Diet

Introduction (5 minutes)

To start the session, ask the children what things we should all do to keep fit and healthy - get them to jot down their ideas on individual whiteboards. After asking the children to share their responses, tell them that today you will be looking at the foods they eat and asking them to think if they have a healthy, balanced diet, and if not, what could be changed.

Firstly, check that the children understand that the meaning of 'diet' is a description of what we eat, rather than losing weight. Then ask the children to think about foods they eat a lot of, foods they don't eat very much of and foods they hardly eat at all.

Ask the children to share their thoughts with a partner, and jot down some ideas on whiteboards. Talk through some of the children's responses. Put these responses to one side to return to later.

Activity (20 - 30 minutes)

Go through the Hit the button' game allowing children time to suggest foods from the different food groups (again, whiteboards could be used to jot down ideas). Then let children make their own balanced meals, either individually or in groups.

Activity Sheet 1 - A Day in My Diet

After finishing the Hit the button' game, get the children to complete Activity Sheet 1. Ask them which meals out of four sample menus are the balanced ones. The children are then asked to consider what they had (or will have) for lunch and whether they have chosen the varied and balanced option.

Plenary (10 - 15 minutes)

Look back at the whiteboard notes on what foods children ate most and least of. Do they consider that they have a healthy diet? If not, what can they do to change this?

Talk about the fact that one of the types of foods that people don't eat enough of are starchy foods. Who can remember the benefits of starchy foods? (They give us energy) Who can say what some of the starchy foods were, and which group do they belong in? (Bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes)

Now would be a good time to show the children the 'From field to fork- the oven chip story' animation. It is interesting for them to see the direct link that plants provide us with food and that some plants are grown for this.

Tell the children that they can have photocopies of some great potato recipes that are fun to make at home. Encourage the children to try the recipes at home.

VAK (Visual Auditory Kinesthetic) Opportunities
  • Children take a well-known nursery rhyme such as ‘Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star’ and change the words to make a song about having a balanced diet and the importance of nutrition. Older children could use a different tune.
  • Teachers could use one of the potato recipes to do an in-class cookery session.