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Perfect Portion

Students get creative and persuasive while learning about appropriate portion sizes

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, additional activities



Students get the word out about healthy eating, coming up with clever and educational advertisements about the different food groupings.


Students will become familiar with the daily recommended amount for each food grouping.


  1. Ask the students to form a circle around you.
  2. Tell them now that they have learned about which foods are the healthiest choices, they will discuss how much of each it is recommended they eat.
  3. Review the recommended amounts of foods per day (see below). Explain that today, serving sizes are bigger than is recommended for our bodies (e.g. "supersized" fast food meals). When we eat an excess amount of fat and sugar, we gain weight, lower our metabolism, and put ourselves at risk for diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
  4. Ask the students to name some barriers to eating appropriate portion sizes (people eat more when they are stressed; they eat too quickly; sugar and fat are addictive; they don’t eat regularly, so when they do they are hungry and overeat; restaurants serve large portions).
  5. Then brainstorm some solutions to these problems (deal with stress by exercising regularly; pay attention to the pace of your eating; put your fork down between bites; choose fruit instead of pastries and grilled meat instead of fried; eat small portions of healthy foods every few hours; cook instead of eating out; share or take half your food home when you do eat out).
  6. Divide the class into five groups and assign each group one of the food groupings from below.
  7. Tell them they are going to make an advertisement for healthy behavior.
  8. They should encourage others to eat the recommended amount of food from their food grouping.
  9. Ask each group to come up with an educational slogan such as, "Fill up on five!" as they jump up and down high-fiving or "M-I-L-K: Drink it everyday!" as they form the letters with their bodies.
  10. Have the groups perform their advertisements.

Daily Food Grouping Recommendations:
Grains—5-6 ounces of grains per day, half of which should be whole grains.
One ounce of grains is about:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • ½ cup of oatmeal
  • ¾ cup of cold cereal

Fruits—1½-2 servings of fresh or dried fruit per day.
One serving of fruit is about:

  • one medium piece of fruit (apple, pear)
  • six strawberries
  • two plums
  • fifteen grapes
  • a half cup of 100% juice

Vegetables—2½-3 servings of fresh vegetables per day.
One serving of vegetables is about:

  • ½ cup non-leafy raw or cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup raw leafy vegetables (such as spinach)

Milk and milk products—3 servings of low-fat or skim milk and milk products per day.
One serving of milk and milk products is about:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 8 ounces yogurt
  • 2 ounces of cheese

Meat, beans, nuts—5 ounces of meat, beans, nuts per day.
One ounce of meats, beans, and nuts is about:

  • ½ cup dry beans or nuts
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/3 chicken leg, thigh, or breast

Related National Standards


1.8.1, 1.8.2, 1.8.7, 2.8.1, 2.8.3, 2.8.4, 2.8.5, 2.8.9, 5.8.4, 5.8.6, 6.8.1, 7.8.1, 7.8.2


E3b, E3c


1, 2, 5





Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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