Capture the Food Label

Introduce kids to food label reading. Help them discover the sugar content and serving sizes on food labels to guide decision-making about food choices.

Group of kids standing outdoors and eating oranges
smiling kids standing in a circle
group of kids running a relay in a gym
kids running around cones in a gym
kids playing a game in a gym while adult watches
girl stretching and touching her toes in a gym

Activity Purpose

Introduce kids to tips on how to read the sugar content and serving sizes on a food label to guide decision-making about food and beverage choices.


  • Read a food label to identify the number of servings in a food or beverage container.
  • Read a food label to identify the sugar content in foods and beverages.


  • Talk Time: Kids sit and stretch or stand and march in place. Be sure they are a safe distance (arm’s length) apart.
  • Activity: Divide kids into 2 teams. Mark activity boundaries with cones or other place markers so each team has a territory. Place Food Activity Cards face down in the middle of the activity space, so cards are touching each team's territory. The color of the food word's text indicates whether the food is a green-light food, yellow-light food, or a red-light food.
  • Wrap Up: Kids partner with someone sitting near them for discussion.

Talk Time


Q: Do all foods in the grocery store have nutrition labels? (Pause for kids to respond.) What if I told you that many of the green-light foods do not have to have labels! It's true! They don't need a label because they are "whole" foods—meaning they are not processed with other ingredients. How many foods can you think of that do not have labels?
A: Any raw fruit or vegetable is a correct answer. Kids may also identify meats or fish.

(Show kids the What's in Your Food printable.) This paper gives you important information about what to look for when you see a food or beverage label.

  • Serving Size: Serving sizes are found at the top of the label Examples of a serving size can be 1 slice of bread, a 6-inch tortilla, or 1 cup of milk. The serving size is not necessarily a portion size, rather it is a recommendation on how much to eat based on a 2,000 calorie diet. 
  • Percent Daily Values (%DV): These numbers show how much of a nutrient is in a serving of food. A general guide: 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low, 20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high.
  • Sugars: When you’re looking at sugar, anything under 9 total grams of sugar, whether that’s natural or added sugars, is best. Natural sugars are those found most commonly within fresh fruits and vegetables and work to energize your body. Keep an eye out for added sugars as they can appear in processed foods, such as candy, cookies, sweetened beverages, jams, and ice cream. Added sugars have no nutritional value and contribute extra calories.

This activity will help you learn more about the nutritional value of different foods and why foods are classified as green-light, yellow-light, or red-light. The activity is similar to “capture the flag” except you are capturing Food Activity Cards.

Do The Activity

Activity Instructions
  1. Divide the kids into 2 teams. Provide a way for the teams to be easily identified. Use mesh vests if available.
  2. Each team lines up in a horizontal (side to side) line at opposite ends of the activity area.
  3. Set a timer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Shout, “Go!”
  5. Kids begin to capture the Food Activity Cards from the center of the activity space then run back to their line and place the card on the ground.
    • Only 1 card may be taken at a time.
  6. When all the cards have been captured from the center of the space, shout, “Stop!”
  7. Pause, then shout "Capture the food!"
  8. Kids now begin to run into the other team’s territory and attempt to steal the other team’s Food Activity Cards.
    • If a kid is tagged in the other team’s territory, they go to the challenge corner.
      • If the kid was also holding a card, it stays in that territory.
      • A participant can get out of the challenge corner by telling the fitClub leader a green-light food choice.
  9. When time is up each team counts their cards and returns the cards to the center of the play area.
  10. Repeat game for 2-3 minutes. Teams compare the number of cards they captured in the first round with the number captured throughout the second round. Did they improve their score? 
  11. Option: Download and display the Reading Nutrition Labels Poster Pack and the Portions Sizes Poster Pack for visual reminders about how to read nutrition labels.

Wrap Up


Turn and talk with a friend. Name 3 important things to know about reading labels. (Listen for responses similar to the list below.)

  • Serving sizes and portion sizes are not necessarily the same.
  • The Percent Daily Values (%DV) shows how much of a nutrient is in a serving of food; 5% or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low, 20% or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high.
  • Any foods with less than 9 total grams of sugar, whether that’s natural or added sugars are the best choices.

When you get home, pick three foods from your cupboard and look at their food labels. Which is the best choice? What makes you think that?

Time: 10 Minutes

What You'll Need


  • Cones or Place Markers
  • Tape
  • Timer
  • Mesh Vests

Helpful Tips
  • If located in a small space, crab walk or bear crawl across the activity space. 
  • Use pool noodle or other soft object for tagging.

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