Introduction: Cultural Food Pyramid

The following is a lesson created to teach a standard in Health and Wellness, as well as in Visual Arts.  The lesson plan is designed to teach students about cultural foods from other countries, how to plan a healthy diet using the food pyramid, drawing using measurement, and how to effectively communicate ideas using collage. 

Step 1: Materials

To complete this activity you will need the following materials:
Poster Board
Markers (or colored pencils, crayons, paint etc.)
Internet Access
Food Magazines or Books (optional)
Food Pyramid
Menus (with ingredients listed)

Step 2: Step One-Introducing the Food Pyramid

Introduce the class to the food pyramid.  Discuss the different food groups, and how many servings of each group are recommended in a day.  Then discuss how large serving sizes are.

Step 3: Step 2-Discussion of Cultural Foods

Talk about food from other countries, and what categories certain unfamiliar foods fall into on the food pyramid.  Have packets made that include menus of restaurants with ingredients, and what some of the ingredients are.  Have students do some research to find out what certain food items are.  For my example I used a menu from the Taste of India restaurant in Bloomington, IN.  Some food items that are unfamiliar are naan (which is a type of bread), and paneer (which is a cheese dish).

Step 4: Step 3-Drawing the Pyramid

Split the students into groups, and give them packets assigning each group to a different country.  Next give them the supplies, and have them start by drawing a food pyramid.  Have them measure the pyramid out using a ruler so that sections are proportional.  Also have them label each section with the appropriate amount of servings per category.

Step 5: Step 4-Placing Pictures on the Pyramid

After having drawn the pyramid they should look up pictures on the internet, in food books, or magazines of the foods contained in their menu.  Have them collect their images and place them in the appropriate food category based on their ingredients.  Some food items may fall into several food groups, so have them place them in all appropriate groups.

Step 6: Step 5-Serving Sizes

Have students incorporate serving sizes on their poster board to indicate how much of each food item constitutes a serving.  A serving size chart can be included that lists appropriate serving sizes.

Step 7: Step 6-Presentation




Incorporation of Food from other Country

Students included a variety of food items from their assigned country.

Students did not include many food items, or some were not from their assigned country.

Students failed to use food choices from their chosen country.

Includes Serving Size

Indication of a correct amount per serving indicated.

Some information in serving sizes incorrect.

Serving sizes not indicated.


Ideas are organized in a sensible manner, and graphics are well chosen

Some disorganization, some graphics may not make sense or are hard to see

No noticeable organization, graphics are poor in quality


Students present the information in a well thought out intelligible manner

Some troubles in presentation

Presentation does not effectively communicate ideas related to learning objectives

Have student groups present on their assigned countries, explaining why each food falls into each category.  Have them give a plan of a healthy diet based on the food choices following the guidelines of the food pyramid.  Grade their presentation and poster using a self made rubric or the one attached in the lesson plan, which is also presented in this slide.

Step 8: Tips and Tricks

When I originally formulated this activity I thought having students create a collage using magazine clippings was a good idea, but I realized it would be hard to find images of all the foods.  I think it would be easier to have students look up images using the internet to use for their collage, and this would help them with their computer literacy as well.  I also realized that to know appropriate serving sizes for a lot off dishes the recipe would have to be known to get a full idea of the proportions.  You could include recipes for the dishes so a diet could be accurately planned.  The time frame says one hour on the lesson plan that is attached, but it may take longer than that.