The Edible Pyramid:
Good Eating Every Day
by Loreen Leedy

Reading Level: Ages 4-8

The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day by Loreen Leedy is a fun introduction to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

A group of elegantly dressed animals running the gamut from mice to elephants arrive for the opening of a new restaurant.

  • "I hope there is a salad bar," says the rabbit.
  • "I hope they have seafood," declares the pelican.

Welcome to The Edible Pyramid.

The tuxedo clad cat who'll be the waiter for the evening welcomes everyone and introduces the "pyramid menu." This is an introduction to the USDA's food guide pyramid and the number of suggested daily servings from each food group.

The cat proceeds to answer the turtle's question, "What do you serve from each food group?" by naming a long list of foods within each one of the 6 food groups in the pyramid:
  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Milk
  • Meat and Beans
  • Oils
"Here are the breads we serve. They are in the grain group." As he explains "grains can be prepared in many ways," your child can follow along with pictures of brown rice, oatmeal, popcorn, millet, bran muffins, etc.

The cat presents each food group in a similar way, ending with the "oils" group as he offers fudge to a hippopotamus while declaring, "If you eat too many sweets and fats, you may gain too much weight."

"The menu says to eat 6 ounces of grains a day. How much is that?" the giraffe asks.

The cat makes his best attempt to explain how to figure out serving sizes and then moves on to the frog to explain how combination (of food group) foods like pizza fit into the food pyramid.

A 2 page spread at the end of the book showing the animals having fun exercising is devoted to answering the hippopotamus' question, "Why does the pyramid have steps?"

The waiter cat concludes the evening with a great take home message: "Just remember to use the pyramid as a guide -- take steps to eat healthy foods and be active every day."

Note: Originally published in 1994, The Edible Pyramid was revised in 2005 to incorporate the USDA's newly designed pyramid so if you buy a used copy, make sure you get the latest version!

Nutrition Activities:
After reading The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day:

  • Have your child cut out pictures of food from a magazine and arrange them according to food groups. (Make your own pyramid with the pictures and hang on the refrigerator.)
  • Go through your refrigerator/cabinets and have your child identify what food groups the foods fit into. Which food group do you have the most of? Which do you have the least of?
  • Have your child identify what food group(s) their dinner fits into.
  • When you go grocery shopping, have your child identify one food from each food group in your cart.
  • Make creative salads that contain all of the food groups.
  • Other food pyramid activities for kids.

More nutrition books for kids I recommend.

More of my professional advice you may find helpful:

Nutrition for Kids

Quick Kid Friendly Meals

Your Personal Nutrition Guide Home Page