The diet (7-11 Years)

People around the world choose and combine different food to make meals and snacks. The total amount and range of food and drinks consumed is called the diet.

The diet

Activity 1 - A range of factors determine what people eat. 

You may find it useful to read the Different diets factsheet before this session as it provides information about different diets.

Explain to the children that you will be discussing the types of food people eat and the reasons for their choices. Ask the children to consider their family members who do and do not live with them and the food and drinks they consume.

Ask the children to share what various family members eat and note their responses on the board.

When you have collected a selection of answers, look at each one and ask the children to suggest the reasons their family members might choose these foods.

For example:

  • My grandad eats banana sandwiches for lunch sometimes because they are easy to make and give him one of his 5 A DAY. (Ease and health.)
  • My brother likes peaches. (Preference.)
  • My aunty doesn’t eat meat or fish because she is vegetarian. (Ethical.)
  • My sister doesn’t eat dairy foods because she has a lactose intolerance. (Medical.)
  • My dad takes a sandwich to work for his breakfast because he doesn’t have time to have breakfast at home in the morning. (Time.)
  • My granny doesn’t eat beef because she is a Hindu. (Religion.)

Ask children if they have heard the word ‘diet’ before and if they can explain what it means. Explain that the word ‘diet’ means all the food and drink we consume. Give some examples of the word in context, e.g. we are encouraged to have a ‘healthy diet’, a ‘vegetarian diet’ is one without meat or fish, a person with an intolerance to lactose might follow a ‘diary-free diet’. The children may have heard the term ‘diet’ used in relation to people trying to lose weight, explain that this is a ‘weight loss diet’.

Explain to the children that they are going to research different diets in pairs or small groups and create a booklet to present their findings.    

Task the children to create a booklet with the What people eat and why worksheet. You may wish to allocate different diets or categories to different pairs or groups. These may include diets related to:

  • Religion, e.g. Islam, Judaism;
  • Climate, e.g. hot, dry or cold countries;
  • Preference, e.g. likes and dislikes;
  • Culture, e.g. Japanese, Afro-Caribbean.

The children can use books or the internet to create their booklet about their allocated diet.

When the children have completed the task, ask them to share their findings. 

Conclude the session by recapping the key features of a few different diets and the reasons they may be followed (food availability, preferences, time, culture, religion). 


Activity 2 - Dishes and meals eaten around the world often comprise similar food (or ingredients) combined in different ways.

Display the World food cards.  Ask the children to read the names of the dishes and name the countries from which they originate.

Ask the children to share any initial similarities and differences they notice between the dishes. 

Work through the food types below and ask the children if they can see any of these types of food in each dish:

  • fruit or vegetables;
  • meat or fish;
  • dairy;
  • potatoes or food from cereals, e.g. bread, rice, pasta, noodles.

Ask the children what this shows us. The children should be able to suggest that although there are many different types of dishes eaten around the world, many are made from the same basic food commodities (or ingredients).

Give each child a copy of the World map worksheet and provide atlases or internet access. Task the children to find the country of origin for a selection of the dishes on the World food cards and mark the countries on their map. They should then draw a line from the country to the edge of the worksheet where they can write the name of the dish and the country.

To extend this activity, you could task the children to research traditional dishes from other countries and add these to their maps, e.g. Turkey, Poland, Peru.


Activity 3 - People all around the world need a variety of food from different food groups to have a healthy diet.

Ask children what they notice about the different models. How are they similar/different to the Eatwell Guide?

Summarise that where ever people live in the world, everyone needs a variety of food from different food groups to have a healthy diet.

Tasks the children to choose a healthy eating model from a different country and either:

  • compare it with the Eatwell Guide and make a list of similarities and differences between the two models;
  • use the model to plan a lunch or evening meal.


Further activities

  • Arrange a cooking activity to produce a dish suitable for a particular diet.
  • Ask whether any parents, carers and/or friends of the school, could talk to the children about food from other countries, cultures or religions.
  • Arrange a tasting session looking at foods that children may not have tasted before. For example, a range of different breads representing different counties could be used.


Reviewed November 2023

7 - 11 YR
Different diets

A worksheet exploring why people choose to have different diets.

7 - 11 YR
World food cards

A set of cards showing a selection of food from around the world.

7 - 11 YR
World map

A map of the world.

7 - 11 YR
World diets

A presentation introducing diets around the world.

7 - 11 YR
What people eat and why!

A booklet looking at what people eat and why.

Meal planner

A Meal planner poster which focuses on the energy provided by different meal occasions.

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