Paint Your Plate Lesson Plan Grade 1 – I’m Hungry

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Minds on

Initiate a classroom discussion to get students thinking about some of the reasons why they eat.

Note to teachers

The goal of this lesson is for students to understand that one of the reasons people eat is to ‘fuel’ their bodies and minds to keep them moving, working, and feeling well. There are various reasons why people eat, but the focus of this lesson is eating for good health and proper growth and development in children and adolescents.

Key messages to share with students

  • We are born with hunger cues which tell us when we need to eat and when we need to stop. We feel hungry before eating and satisfied (full) after eating.
  • One of the reasons why we need to eat is to give our bodies and minds the energy it needs to stay healthy, feel well and grow, play and learn as best we can.
  • It is good to know where the food we eat comes from.
  • Foods come in many different colours, tastes, textures, and smells.
  • It is good to learn about (and try) different foods.

Dig Deeper

All about food – exploring Canada’s food system (Agriculture Canada)

We grow alot more than you think (Agriculture Canada)

Nutrition education in schools (Ellyn Satter, feeding expert)

The division of responsibility for feeding children (Ellyn Satter, feeding expert)

Teacher prompts

“Why do we need to eat? Our bodies and minds do a lot for us during the day. We grow (when we are young), we learn, play, and heal. One of the things our body needs for this to happen is food and water.”

“How do you know when you need to eat? Our body (stomach) lets us know when it needs to have food (or water). We start thinking more about food. We might ask our parent or caregiver when the next meal is. Our bodies know when we should eat (or drink) because we feel ‘hungry’ or ‘thirsty’. We should wait until mealtime or snack time though.”

“How do you know how much to eat? Our stomach stops feeling hungry (or thirsty). That means we have had enough to eat at that meal or snack. But a few hours later, we will feel hungry (or thirsty) all over again.”


Option 1: My how you’ve grown!

  1. Hold up an infant sleeper. Ask students if they remember when they wore one of these. Ask a student to come up front and hold the sleeper up against him or herself. Remind them how much they have grown in the past five to six years. Explain that food helps their bodies feel energized, which helps them to grow.
  2. Sing the “Old McDonald” song with students. Ask students if they know that all of their food comes from a farm. Ask them if they have ever visited a farm and what they saw on the farm. Ask them to name some foods that are grown on farms.
  3. Hold up pictures of different types of foods (i.e. wholesome, minimally processed foods). Ask students where each food comes from. For example, milk comes from a cow (not from the grocery store); eggs come from chickens (hens). For each food, discuss its colour, size, shape, and texture. Discuss the agricultural origins of food.

Additional activity (field trip)

  • Tour a farmers’ market to take in all the sights, smells, and tastes of fresh produce.
  • Tour a farm or visit a farm stand to take in all the sights, smells, and tastes of farm fresh foods. Ask the farmer to talk about the crops or livestock that he/she raises and how the food gets from the farm to us.
  • Arrange to tour the produce section of a local grocery store. Meet a store manager and have him/her highlight the produce sections. Sample something new and different as part of the tour.

Curriculum connections

Grade 1, D1. Understanding Health Concepts D1.1 Food for healthy bodies and mids

Explain why people need food to have healthy bodies and minds (e.g., food provides energy and nutrients for the healthy growth of teeth, skin, bones, and muscles, and the healthy develpment of the brain).

Reference: The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Health and Physical Education, 2019