Little Books and Little Cooks

Lesson 2: Lesson Plan

Introduction (10 minutes)

TELL: In this lesson, I would like to introduce the five food groups to you. There are five food groups that you should be eating every day to give your body vitamins, minerals, other nutrients and energy. Eating healthy will make you feel good and energetic. What are the five food groups? Today we will learn about the five food groups by reading “My Plate and You” and cooking “Five Food Group Pasta Salad.”

Mini-Lesson (10 minutes)

Instructor 1: Discuss briefly the five food groups of MyPlate (referring to the handouts and MyPlate plate or poster) with parents. Encourage them to visit: www.chooseMyPlate.gov to find more information. Ask parents if they are aware of the five food groups, what each group contains and food serving sizes. Use the food models to demonstrate and review “Healthy Eating for Preschoolers.”

TELL: (Pointing to the MyPlate demonstration plate or poster.) This is MyPlate. It is made up of the five food groups and shaped like a plate. Let’s learn the food groups together. Look at the orange section of the plate. This is the grain group. Do you know what foods you would find in this group?

Prompt the parents to name foods such as bread, crackers, cereal, pasta, etc. Continue the discussion with the vegetables, fruits, dairy and protein groups and introduce correct serving sizes of foods from each food group. Talk about making food choices for a healthy lifestyle.

Instructor 2: During the mini-lesson play “Healthy Helpings: A MyPlate Pocket Chart” with children. You may also do this activity, without the chart, by matching foods to food groups using the coloring page and home activity (supplement) handouts, or use the MyPlate Mat from lesson 6.

Reading “MyPlate and You” (15 minutes): Parent-Child Time

For each lesson, you may read using one book and have the children (and parents) join you on the floor in a circle (a typical “story time” format). Or have a class set of books and provide one to each family so that they may follow along as you read the book.

TELL: (to parents and children) What do you think this book is about?
TELL: “MyPlate and You” is a book that teaches people about healthy eating and shows how much to eat from each food group every day. We just talked about MyPlate. Have you ever heard of MyPlate before? MyPlate is the current nutrition guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), describing a place setting with a plate and glass divided into five food groups.

Questions to ask from MyPlate book

New Words

Health Eating

Whole Grain





TELL: As the book suggests, eating different foods from each food group will help children grow and think and give them energy to play.

Cooking “Five Food Group Pasta Salad” (30 minutes):
Parent-Child Time

TELL: Today we are going to cook “Five Food Group Pasta Salad,” and we are going to use all five food groups we just talked about. Help your child practice five food groups by matching food groups to ingredients.
TELL: When you cook with your child, patiently show your child each step. Share and give effective instructions and praise or encouragement to your child (e.g. Please hand me the apple. Thanks for doing what I asked. I know you tried hard to peel the carrot, you almost did it all by yourself!).
TELL (To children and parents): Please wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Sing the alphabet song. Make sure to take turns!

Instructor 1: Reviews the kitchen equipment with children and goes through the recipe step by step with the group. Also passes out ingredients as needed.

Instructor 2: Assists with hand washing and passes out ingredients. Also observes parent-child interaction during all processes – cooking, cleaning-up and eating together.

Cooking Skills chart

Clean-up (5 minutes)

TELL: Cooking together is also a great time to teach your child about the values of cleaning. Parents and children can wash dishes, use a broom or mop to clean any messes off the floor or use a paper towel to wipe clean counters and tables after cooking.

When the recipe has been completed, children and parents “clean-up” by rinsing and/or bringing the equipment to the instructors and throwing away any trash (leaving the prepared food on the table). Each week provide a placemat for the children to use during mealtime (MyPlate or "Mealtime Conversations") can be laminated and/or enlarged).

Eating Together (15 minutes)

TELL: Mealtimes are an important part of building family ties and offer many benefits. When your family eats together, everybody will eat better, and your child benefits from seeing you eating healthy foods. When eating together you should give your child some opportunities to make decisions about foods and how much to eat. This will enable your meal time to be more pleasant; and your child will learn to make healthy food choices now and in the future. However if your child refuses to eat any ingredients, don’t force them. Introduce the food again at another time. Know it may take up to 10 exposures before your child accepts a new food; so don’t give up!

Closing & Wrap-up (5 minutes)

TELL: For the next week, I would like you and your child to practice the five food groups that we learned about today. Please read the take-home book “Stone Soup” and cook the recipe “Stone Soup”.Cover of book Pumpkin Soup

Download a checklist of what you will need for this lesson.