MyPyramid for Kids

This information has been reviewed and adapted for use in South Carolina by J. G. Hunter, HGIC Information Specialist, and K. L. Cason, Professor, State EFNEP Coordinator, Clemson University. (New 01/06.)

HGIC 4011

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On September 28, 2005, MyPyramid for Kids was introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This is a child-friendly version of the new MyPyramid Food Guidance System, which was released in April 2005. MyPyramid reflects the government’s new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including the importance of balancing what we eat with our physical activity.

Child-friendly version of MyPyramid for kids poster


Most Americans do not eat enough dark green and orange vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, and low fat milk products, while eating too many fats and caloric sweeteners. MyPyramid for Kids recommends eating more of the under-consumed foods and less solid fats, caloric sweeteners, and foods high in fat and sugars.

Written in simpler language than MyPyramid, this version of the pyramid is designed to help combat obesity by encouraging children to make healthy eating choices and be more physically active every day. MyPyramid for Kids includes illustrations of children involved in a variety of physical activities and shows healthy foods from each food group that appeal to children. The child climbing the steps on the pyramid reminds children that daily physical activity is important.

MyPyramid for Kids presents all of the MyPyramid concepts in an appealing way to attract elementary school children’s attention and encourage them to learn more. The colorful materials, which are for children aged 6 to 11, include: a Blast Off computer game, a double-sided poster, tips for families, a close look at MyPyramid for Kids, a coloring page, a worksheet to track daily food and physical activity choices, and numerous classroom materials.

MyPyramid for Kids Materials

The following MyPyramid materials, designed specifically for elementary school aged children, are available for downloading at these web sites: www.mypyramid.gov/kids/ and http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/kids-pyramid.html.

MyPyramid Blast Off Game: MyPyramid for Kids is brought to life when children play this fun, interactive computer game. They reach Planet Power by fueling their rocket with a variety of food (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) and physical activity. “Fuel” tanks for each food group help them keep track of how their choices fit into MyPyramid. In order to blast off, kids must not go overboard on total fuel, added sugars, and solid fats. For a short, animated tour of the game, visit: http://www.mypyramid.gov/kids/kids_game.html.

MyPyramid for Kids Poster: The simplified side of this two-sided poster highlights the MyPyramid for Kids graphic for younger children. The other side, designed for advanced elementary students, features healthy eating and physical activity messages along with the graphic.

MyPyramid for Kids poster


Food Categories & Portion Sizes
Grains
Make half your
grains whole
Vegetables
Vary your veggies
Fruits
Focus on fruits
Milk
Get your calcium-
rich foods
Meat & Beans
Go lean with protein

Start smart with breakfast. Look for whole-grain cereals.

Just because bread is brown doesn’t mean it’s whole grain. Search the ingredients list to make sure the first word is “whole” (like “whole wheat”).

Color your plate with lots of great-tasting veggies.

What’s green and orange and tastes good? Veggies!

Go dark green with broccoli and spinach, or try orange ones like carrots and sweet potatoes.

Eat a variety of fruits. They are nature’s treats—sweet and delicious.

Go easy on fruit juice, and make sure it’s 100%.

Move to the milk group to get your calcium. Calcium builds strong bones.

Look at the carton or container to make sure your milk, yogurt, or cheese is low-fat or
fat-free.

Eat lean or low-fat meat, chicken, turkey and fish.

Ask for it grilled, baked or broiled—not fried.

It’s nutty, but true. Nuts, seeds, peas and beans are all great sources of protein, too.

For an 1,800-calorie diet, you need the amounts below from each food group. To find the amounts that are right for you, go to MyPyramid.gov

Eat 6 oz. every day
at least half should be whole

Eat 2½ cups every day

Eat 1½  cups every day

Get 3 cups every day. for kids ages 2 to 8 it’s
2 cups

Eat 5 oz.
every day

Oils

Oils are not a food group, but you need some for good health.
Get your oils from fish, nuts and liquid oils such as corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil.

Find your balance between food and fun.

  • Move more. Exercise at least 60 minutes every day, or most days.
  • Walk, dance, bike, rollerblade—it all counts. How great is that?

Fats and sugars—know your limits.

  • Get your fat facts and sugar smarts from the Nutrition Facts label.
  • Limit solid fats and foods that have solid fats in them.
  • Choose food and beverages low in added sugars and other caloric sweeteners.


Tips for Families: This mini-poster has the MyPyramid for Kids graphic on one side and eating and physical activity tips on the other side.

Tips on healthy eating and exercising for families

A Close Look at MyPyramid for Kids: This one-page handout is a step-by-step explanation of the key concepts of the MyPyramid for Kids symbol.

A step-by-step explanation of the key concepts of the MyPyramid for Kids symbol

MyPyramid for Kids Worksheet: Print out this helpful meal tracking worksheet, which helps kids track how their foods choices match up to the MyPyramid recommendations. Then have kids set a food and activity goal for tomorrow. For a copy visit: http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/resources/mpk_worksheet.pdf.

MyPyramid for Kids Coloring Page: Let kids color this single page line art of the MyPyramid for Kids symbol, which is in black and white. Available for downloading at: http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/resources/mpk_coloring.pdf.

Classroom Materials: Additional MyPyramid for Kids materials for use in the elementary school classroom are available at www.mypyramid.gov/ and on the Team Nutrition website: http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/kids-pyramid.html.

Teachers can get lesson plans with a teacher’s guide, reproducible worksheets, a poster, a CD with the Blast Off game, along with other educational materials. Lesson plans are available in three levels: grades 1-2, grades 3-4 and grades 5-6.

MyPyramid for All Ages

People of all ages can find simple, personalized help in making healthy food choices and being physically active every day by going to www.mypyramid.gov/.

Sources:

  1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). MyPyramid for Kids. September, 2005. www.mypyramid.gov/kids/index.html
  2. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). MyPyramid, Steps To A Healthier You. April 2005. www.mypyramid.gov/
  3. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service, Team Nutrition. http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/kids-pyramid.html
  4. Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center. HGIC 4010, MyPyramid. September 2005. http://hgic.clemson.edu
  5. Cason, Katherine. New! MyPyramid for Kids Unveiled. Nourishing News (October 2005), Clemson University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and EFNEP. http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/NIRC/pdf/Nourishing%20News%20October%202005.pdf
  6. Virginia Commonwealth University. Frequently Asked Questions, MyPyramid for Kids. September 30, 2005. http://www.womenshealth.vcu.edu/announcements/mypyramid_for_kids_FAQ.pdf
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