administration student task rubric student work technical quality
The Food We Eat
Contributed by: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO/SCASS)

The Item:

  1. How many servings from each food group should you eat each day?

  2. Explain why you think people should eat foods from several of the food groups each day.

  3. Use the information in the pyramid to plan your meals for a whole day. Be sure to make a healthy plan. Include the correct number of servings from each food group. Describe what you will eat and when in the day you will eat it. Write down everything you will eat. Write in the table below.

Item Description:

The student is given a diagram of the food pyramid, which is the updated summary of dietary recommendations that replaces the old standard "four food groups" chart. The food pyramid shows six food groups and the number of servings from each group that a person should eat every day in order to maintain a healthy diet.

In question 1, the student is asked to transfer the information from the food pyramid into a chart. This is a simple reading and copying exercise that forces the student to focus on the food pyramid information.

Question 2 requires the student to draw on knowledge gained outside this test. Each of the six food groups is the best source of some essential nutrient. Variety in diet is the best way to assure oneself of obtaining essential nutrients. Most students realize that a varied diet is a healthy one, and some are aware that you must eat different types of foods to get different types of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins).

Question 3 asks the student to write out one day's meal plan using the food pyramid information. The five major groups should be represented, but the fats/oils/sweets group need not be specified. Since the students are not given any idea of serving sizes, the meal plans are likely to list one food as one serving. If the student indicates how many servings of a food are to be eaten, servings may be totalled.

Variety, or representation of many food groups, is more important than exact number of servings. The minimum number of foods/servings listed should be fifteen, exclusive of fats/oils/sweets.


  1. The student's response (to question #2) alludes to the healthfulness of a varied diet, or the unhealthfulness of a diet that is not varied.

  2. The student's response (to question #2) shows that the student understands that each food group is considered the best source of a different set of nutrients. Specific nutrients need not be named, but it must be clear that the food contains something your body needs.
    Example: "Fruits give you vitamins."
      "Each food group has something you need for your body."
      "If you only ate 2 or 3 foods, you'd miss some vitamins you need."

  3. In the meal plan (question 3), each of the five following groups are represented at least once:
    bread/cereal/rice/pasta group
    vegetable group
    fruit group
    milk/yogurt/cheese group
    meat/poultry/fish/dry beans/eggs/nuts group

  4. In the day's meal plan (question 3), each of the food groups are represented in at least the minimum amounts given in the food pyramid. If serving numbers are not provided by the student, assume that each time a food is mentioned = one serving.
    bread/cereal/rice/pasta:  6
    vegetable:  3
    fruit:  2
    milk/yogurt/cheese:  2
    meat/poultry/fish/dry beans/eggs/nuts:  2
    fats/oils/sweets:  need not be counted

Following are some counting rules:

If a sandwich is listed, credit 2 breads and whatever group the filling falls into.

Steak=  2 meats
Spaghetti=  1 pasta and 1 vegetable (for the sauce)
Hamburger=  2 bread, 1 meat
Cheeseburger=  2 bread, 1 meat, 1 milk
Crackers=  bread; 6 crackers=  1 bread
Juice, orange juice=  fruit
Lasagna=  1 pasta, 1 vegetable, 1 cheese, 1 meat?
Taco=  1 bread, 1 meat
Fruit pie=  1 fruit

This list will be expanded as needed.

Fats/Oils/Sweets: cookies
  potato chips
  pop, soda

Catsup is NOT a vegetable for the purpose of this test.


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