Protein Group

Grades 3-6

Materials Needed:

MyPlate plate or poster

White board or something to write on and to play “Hangman”

A straw

MyPlate Mania Game (Optional) – See Curriculum Introduction for more information


Small bowls

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Tortilla Chips



Awesome Oatmeal Cookies or Peanut Butter Bars


Ask the students to stand on one foot if they remember what you talked about last time. Briefly discuss the previous lesson and then have them sit down as they answer.


Ask the students if they can remember what color the last food group is and have them answer as a group. Then ask, “Without saying anything, show me how this food group good for your body.” (Show muscles).


The students will name foods in the Proteins group and identify the healthiness of each one.

Have the students name food in the Proteins group and write on a white board or chalkboard in this order as they tell them to you:






Game Meat (Venison, Elk, etc.)


Pork (Ham, Bacon, etc.)

Mutton or Sheep

Then ask,

“Why do you think I wrote them in that order?” (The healthier ones are at the top of the list and the ones that not as healthy toward the bottom of the list.

How healthy they are).

“What makes fish healthier than beef?” (The type of fat and cholesterol).

“What is cholesterol?” (It is a waxy substance in your body. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol)

“Why is cholesterol bad? (It can attach to your arteries and cause a heart attack).

“So, how can you tell if something has good fat or bad fat? (What it looks like at room temperature. If it is a solid at room temperature, then it is an unhealthy fat, if it is liquid at room temperature, then it is a healthier fat.)

Show the straw and ask,

“If I was dripping bacon grease through this straw—what would happen pretty soon?” (It would clog up).

What if I dripped olive oil through the straw? (It would just go through. Think of the straw as the arteries to your heart. Over time, if you eat too much unhealthy fat, then it can clog up your arteries just like the straw.)

Have the students talk about the different fats in the foods in the proteins group and discuss what the fat looks like at room temperature. Fish has oils called Omega 3 Fatty

Acids that lower cholesterol and beans are protein and fiber with no cholesterol. Eggs are half and half since the white is protein and the yolk is cholesterol.


The students will identify nutrients in the proteins group and how they help your body.

Play “Hangman” with the following words. When the word is guessed, discuss how that nutrient helps your body.

Protein: Forms a major part of a lean body. It is needed for growth and repair of tissue

and regulates body processes.

Iron: an important mineral that forms part of the hemoglobin in red blood cells. It

carries oxygen to body cells and eliminates carbon dioxide.

Zinc: Promotes normal appetite and healthy skin.

B Vitamins: Includes thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12. Releases energy in food and aid

in digestion. Promote healthy skin and appetite.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids : Healthy fats that protect against heart disease. Found in fish.

Fiber: Cleans the inside of your body and blood.

Amino Acids: They are used by the body for growth and repair.

Activity: Protect our Heart - “Heart Alert” Game

Choose one person to be “It”. They will use a soft ball to touch the head of the other students, softly (kind of like duck, duck, goose). As they touch the head of the other students, they will call out different foods from the Protein such as: black beans, peanut butter, chicken, eggs, fish, etc… until they say “Heart Alert” on one student’s head. That student must then must stand up and do five jumping jacks with the student that “Heart

Alerted” them.

The person that was “Heart Alerted”, then chooses another student to walk around touching the heads of other students naming foods from the protein group until they

“Heart Alert” another student. You may switch the type activity the students must perform to jumping, hopping on one foot, jogging in place, skipping, dancing, or other activities that get their heart to beat faster, making their heart stronger.


The students will demonstrate how many ounces of protein they need to eat each day and discuss how much 5 ounces is.

Ask the students to show you by the number of fingers how many ounces of proteins you need every day. Then show them by holding up 5 fingers. Five ounces of meat is about the size of the palm of an adult hand. Tell them, when they open their hand to show five ounces with their fingers, and see the palm of their hand, that is a good way to remember how much proteins they need.


The students will taste a food and identify which part is in the Protein group. Have students help pass out snack and then have them identify which part of it is in the

Proteins group. (Beans) If you choose to make and serve the Awesome Oatmeal Cookies or Peanut Butter Bars, they also include eggs and you may want to try and have the students guess the other protein in addition to eggs. Ask them AFTER they have tried the cookies or bars.

My Plate Protein Lesson Recipes

Yummy Peanut Butter Bar Cookies

1 c. peanut butter

1 c. brown sugar

¾ c. white sugar

2 eggs

½ c. pureed pinto beans

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 ½ c. whole wheat flour

½ tsp. Baking soda

1 tsp. Baking powder

¼ tsp. Salt

Blend first 6 ingredients together. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Dough will be VERY sticky. Spray 11X17 pan with cooking spray. Spread dough on cookie sheet. Bake 375 for

10 minutes or until done.

Awesome Oatmeal Cookies

¾ cup mashed white beans

2 tablespoons canola oil (optional)

½ c. unsweetened applesauce

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg or ¼ cup egg substitute*

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 350º. Beat mashed white beans, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg or egg substitute, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Combine remaining dry

ingredients in a separate bowl and mix together. Add to bean and sugar mixture; mix well. Drop onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Yield: about 36 cookies

Nuts, coconut, raisins, and/or chocolate chips maybe added with dry ingredients for variety.

*1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed into 3 tablespoons warm water may used in place of 1 egg.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

2 cans black beans (about 4 cups), rinsed and drained

1 can whole corn, drained or 2 cups frozen corn, thawed

3 large tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado chopped

½ small red onion, chopped

2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

3-4 Tbs. lemon juice

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper (optional)

Mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Combine all other ingredients and pour liquid mixture over and stir. Chill or serve immediately.

Optional Activity:


MyPlate Mania Game – can be used as a large group activity and have the entire class or group play together using one player piece and each student taking turns moving the player piece, divide into smaller groups and have one game per group, or play individually. (game can be purchased through USU Extension/Wayne County Utah, email: [email protected] or call 435-836-1312 to order.

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