find common ground

The first step to good food education is listening to kids (or whoever you are working with). Don’t make any assumptions, don’t preach any dietary recommendations. First find common ground- the acceptance of current reality and the desire for us all to work together to help each other achieve our personal goals.

What is the current reality? We will use an old food education tool, the Food Pyramid, to find out.

USDA_Food_Pyramid What does this Pyramid tell us? It is the government’s recommendation for the amount of food from each group we should eat. These are the recommendations from a few years ago, today it looks like a plate.


What is different about these two recommendations? Why do you think they changed?

What we are really interested in is what you really eat- your current reality. That’s what you actually eat, not what the government wants you to eat. Once we know what we really eat, we can set individual goals for things we can do to improve what we eat.

So draw your own pyramid. At the bottom put the types of foods you eat most, and then as you move up the pyramid write/draw the foods you eat sometimes, and at the very top the foods you eat most rarely.


Here’s an example of a pyramid that was created by an 8th grader in Southwest Philly.

pyramidOnce everyone draws their pyramids, it’s time to share. This is how we build common ground. We can compare each others pyramids. We can work together to identify areas where we can all improve what we eat and how we eat. We can set goals, and support each other in achieving them.

No matter the specific scope/purpose of the project you’re working on, it’s always good to refer back to your food pyramids to reflect on how you’re creating a healthier food system for yourself and your community.