Lesson

Paths to Healthy Snack Options for Kids

Teach kids about healthy snack options and help them categorize snacks into Eat More/Green Light, Eat Some/Yellow Light, Eat Less/Red Light choices.

Objectives

  • Identify food and drink choices that are best for your body and brain.
  • Use the stoplight colors of green, yellow, and red as tools to categorize food choices as eat more, eat some, and eat less.

Lesson Plan

Introduce students to the idea that food is fuel for their bodies. “Food” refers to both what you eat and what you drink. The lessons in this unit use a stoplight as a tool to help students think about their food choices. Green-light foods are to be eaten more often than yellow-light or red-light foods:

  • Eat More: Green-light foods are best! They have the most nutrition for energy and growth and can be eaten anytime. Green-light foods are great fuel for your body and brain, so eat them often! Examples: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, milk, and water.
  • Eat Some: Yellow-light foods do not keep you fueled-up the way green-light foods do. They have more fat, added sugar, and/or calories than green-light foods. Eat yellow-light foods sometimes, but not for every meal. Examples: dried fruit, veggies with sauces, flavored yogurt, granola bars, ground beef, and juice.
  • Eat Less: Red-light foods have the lowest nutritional value. Stop and think about your choice and eat the red-light foods least often. Examples: chips, candy, fried foods, cakes, donuts, and soda. 

It's important that kids understand that foods are not good or bad; however, there are foods that you want to eat more often for good health. For more information and about the nutritional benefits of foods and different food groups, read Food is Fuel

Set The Stage

Have kids turn and talk about their most recent snack or favorite snack. Discuss things that influence snack choices such as mood, energy, place, time, family traditions, etc.

Optional: Record snack choices to categorize after the lesson. 

To use this with your students click here.

Captivate

Teach Kids to Identify Healthy Snack Choices

Students view the slideshow and classify snack choices as Eat More/Green Light, Eat Some/Yellow Light, Eat Less/Red Light.

Educate

Learn About Healthy Snack Options

When making a snack choice, remember the best snacks have a short ingredient list, like fruit, vegetables, water, and milk!

Check for understanding: Which green-light snack choices are your favorites?

Activate

Have Kids Make Healthy Snack Choices

Students identify Eat More/Green Light, Eat Some/Yellow Light, Eat Less/Red Light choices, then use the Snack Choices printable to plan after school snacks.

Close the Lesson

Today we identified healthy snack options and categorized them into green light, yellow light, and red light choices. Next we will learn about healthy meal options. 

Grade: 3-5

Time: 20 Minutes

What You'll Need

Health Education Standards

  • Standard 1: Core Concepts - Eat a variety of foods within each food group every day.
  • Standard 4: Interpersonal Communication 
  • Standard 5: Decision-Making
  • Standard 7: Practice Health-Enhancing Behaviors

Social and Emotional Learning Competencies

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Responsible Decision-Making

Extend the Lesson

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