Building Blocks of Food

Building Blocks of Food

Age: Grades 2-5
Key Learning: understand the meaning of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and what they do, and their food sources
Type: Lunchtime education
Equipment Needed: none


Directions

  1. Explain to the class that all foods break down when we eat them into 3 major nutrients. They are called carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Has anyone ever heard of those? What do they know about them?
  2. Carbohydrates come from foods like grains (bread, crackers, rice, noodles, pasta, cereal, pita), potatoes, corn, fruit, and squash. These foods break down into carbohydrates which our bodies use for energy so we can run around and play and learn. Our brains will actually only eat up this nutrient to use for energy so it is especially important to have healthy grains and carbohydrate sources during the school day when we are learning and using our brains so much! If we think of our body like a car, carbohydrate foods are like the gas in the tank. Without gas, our cars can’t go very far. What are the carbohydrate foods on our plates right now?
  3. Fats come from foods like meat, fish, olives, oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. This nutrient is important to keep all our organs working well and to help us absorb certain vitamins and minerals. If we don’t have enough healthy fats in our diets, our bodies can’t take in and use vitamins A, D, E, and K, that we get from delicious healthy foods. Fats from nuts, seeds, fish, vegetable oils, and avocados are better for us than fats from meats and fried foods. In our ‘car body,’ fats are like motor oil keeping everything running smoothly. Which foods on our plates are giving us healthy fats?
  4. Proteins come from foods like beans, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, tofu, and eggs. Protein is important to build up our muscles so we can grow and be strong, repair our bodies when we get hurt, and help us get better when we get sick. Proteins are like the building blocks for our bodies. Which foods on our plates are providing us with protein?
  5. Continue to ask students to identify the carbohydrate/fat/protein sources on their plates every day to reinforce their learning and keep the knowledge fresh in their minds.