Lesson

Healthy Food Choices Fuel Healthy Kids

Have kids play a game to help them think about healthy food 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

Ask kids to think back to when they played Red Light, Green Light in Lesson 2. Kids can turn and talk about their experiences and what they learned from playing.

To use this with your students click here.

Captivate

Use Games to Teach Healthy Food Options

Replay the stoplight game from Lesson 2. This time, rather than a color, the slideshow presents food choices. Students respond with green light/eat more, yellow light/eat some, and red light/eat less actions.

Educate

Help Kids Make Healthy Food Choices

Summarize this topic's key concepts:

  • 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, low-fat milk, and lean meat.
  • 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: low-fat ice cream, pasta, fruit juice, fruits in syrup, cheese sauce, peanut butter, and white rice.
  • 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.
Check for understanding: What does it mean to "think your food”?

Activate

Activities to Teach Healthy Food Choices

Students apply what they have learned about food choices and create a green plate day. 

Use the Eat More, Eat Some, Eat Less food chart to complete the MyPlate printable.

Close the Lesson

Today we played a game to help us think about healthy food choices. Can you name five healthy food choices? How about 10?

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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