Meal Planning - Vocational


Table of Contents


Definition: Meal planning- Making a plan ahead of time of what you will eat at each meal. Planning ahead will help guide you in deciding what you need to buy from the grocery store.

Key Terms:

  1. Calories - A measurement of how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking that item.
  2. Nutrients - Something needed for healthy growth, development and functioning.
  3. Trans fat - Fats that are made from oils.
  4. Saturated fat- - Fats that mainly come from animal food products..
  5. Sparingly - In small amounts.

Discussion Points

  • For an average 2,000 calories diet, you should have the following amounts of each food group:
      - Grains- 6 oz. per day (6-11 servings)
      - Vegetables- 2 ½ cups per day (3-5 servings)
      - Fruits- 2 cups per day (2-4 servings)
      - Dairy- 3 cups per day (2-3 servings)
      - Meat, fish, eggs and beans- 5 ½ oz. per day (2-3 servings)
  • When meal planning, choose foods and drinks that are low in added sugars. Added sugars will add calories, but very few, or any, nutrients.
  • Keep saturated fats (food examples: butter, cream, meat fat), trans fats (food examples: fast food, cookies, cakes, frozen pizza) , and sodium (salt) low.
  • Cooking at home usually allows you to eat healthier meals and save money.
  • Leftovers can be an easy meal for the next day and will save you time and money.
  • Exercise and physical activity will burn calories. You should find a balance between your food intake and physical activity so you don’t gain or lose too much weight.

Activity 1: Daily Meals

Print out and give students a copy of Student Activity Sheet A and Student Activity Sheet B. Students will plan their meals for a day, using the food pyramid to reference. For a modified version to use with students with more challenges, provide students with Student Activity Sheet C as well.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Activity Sheet A for each student
  • Student Activity Sheet B for each student
  • Student Activity Sheet C (Optional)

Activity 2: Food Pyramid

Teacher will show students an example of a bad food pyramid (Student Activity Sheet D) and go over what makes a few of them bad choices, such as high fat, sugar or salt content, not many nutrients etc. Then have students create their own healthy version, using a blank pyramid (Student Activity Sheet E) and filling in with pictures of good food choices. Students can use clip art, grocery store circulars, draw pictures etc.

Materials Needed:
  • Projector or Smart Board
  • Student Activity Sheet D for teacher to project on screen
  • Student Activity Sheet E for each student
  • Grocery Store Circular for each student (or have student use clipart on a computer, draw pictures, etc)

Script Writing and Animation

Script Prompt: Pair students and have them take turns creating a movie clip about eating lunch in the cafeteria. One student will have a lunch of unhealthy items that should only be used sparingly, and the other student should have a lunch containing 1 healthy item from each level of the food period. During the movie, students can discuss what makes their lunch choices good or bad, then switch. Students should name and record their scripts using SiLAS software, and save the final movie.

Materials Needed:
  • Script sheet for each group
  • Pencil for each student

Lesson Review

Allow students to complete the student lesson review sheet. Discuss answers when finished.

Materials Needed:
  • Student Lesson Review Sheet - 1 per student
  • Pencil for each student


Go to only student curriculum

Student Lesson Review Sheet

Directions: To check your understanding of the lesson, answer the following questions.

  1. What is the difference between saturated and trans fat?
  2. How many servings of vegetables should you have per day?
  3. Name two items you should use sparingly:
  4. What is one way you can save money when meal planning?
  5. What two things should you try to balance in order to maintain your weight?