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The Brain, Neurons and Brain Chemistry

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Tadzia GrandPré, PhD

Food for the Brain

Student Activity: Healthy Plates

1. List all the foods you have eaten in the past 24 hours, by meal (including snacks), on a separate sheet of paper.

2. Compare the foods in each meal to the recommendations in the Healthy Eating Plate. Keep in mind that many foods combine items from two or more groups.

3. On separate sheet of paper, make a chart with each food group shown in the diagram. List the foods you ate under the appropriate food groups.

4. Write an explanation of how closely the amounts and kinds of food you ate matched the recommendations in the Healthy Eating Plate.


  • Encourage students to create or find recipes that include many nutrients needed by the brain. Share these with the class OR have a “Brain Food Day,” during which students (or parents) bring different foods to share in class, or prepare one or more of the students’ recipes in class.
  • Have students use an online Calorie counter or App to investigate the caloric, fat and nutrient content of common fast foods.

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    Students learn about the brain, neurons, chemical communication in the body, and how our choices can affect brain function and performance. (9 activities)

Funded by the following grant(s)

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education Award, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and NIH Office of the Director

The Learning Brain: Interactive Inquiry for Teachers and Students
Grant Number: 5R25DA033006

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454