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Interpreting the Evidence

A Guide for Planning Your Meals and Snacks, USDA, English and Spanish, c. 1991

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Contemporary United States (1965 - present)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load A Guide for Planning Your Meals and Snacks, USDA, English and Spanish, c. 1991 in Main Image Viewer
  2. Load A Guide for Planning Your Meals and Snacks, USDA, English and Spanish, c. 1991 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Dietary recommendations listing food groups and serving recommendations, in English and Spanish, c. 1991.
Historical Context
The Food Pyramid is provided by the federal government as a guide to help people make healthy food choices. In order to be fit and healthy, you need a good balance of nutritious foods and exercise.     

The basic food groups highlighted on the pyramid include whole grains, vegetables, dairy products, proteins, and junk food. Whole grains include food items like breads, cereals, and pastas. Dairy products include milk, cheese, and yogurt. Proteins include meats, beans, fish, and nuts. Sugar, sweets, and high-fat foods like french fries or potato chips are considered junk food because they provide lots of fat and calories with little to no nutritional benefit. That’s why junk food is also called “empty calories.”     

How much food from each group you should eat depends on your age, weight, gender, and how active you are. However, the food guide does give you examples of serving sizes. In planning your meals, you would want to eat a variety of foods from all of the groups, except junk food. Junk food should be eaten rarely, not every day. If you notice the portion suggestions, you should eat more fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy than the meat and proteins. Do you want to see how healthy you eat? Visit the USDA’s “My Pyramid” Web site for a free nutritional evaluation.
Essential Question
How does media influence the culture?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this brochure and evaluate the impact of this document on the spanish-speaking community.
Historical Challenges
The Food Pyramid has recently been updated. How is it different? How is it similar?
Research the nutritional value of the food in your favorite fast-food restaurant.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Track one day’s eating on the My Pyramid Web site. Write a nutritional evaluation of yourself. What do you do right? What areas could you improve on?
Art: Make a list of some typical foods students your age eat for lunch. Then, create a poster or handout that suggests some similar, but healthier, choices for the most popular items.
Home and Career: Develop a menu for a day using the guidelines suggested by the chart.