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Fast Food to Go Food!

Students brainstorm healthy alternatives to fast foods in this active game

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, additional activities

Description: Students jog while suggesting ways to transform greasy, fast food favorites into nutritious meals.
Objective: Students will discuss healthier alternatives to common fast foods.
  1. Gather the students into a large circle around you.
  2. Ask them what "fast food" is (food made quickly, usually for pick-up, at places like McDonald’s, often high in fat, salt, and added sugar). Ask them to name some fast foods. Do they think they are "slow" or "go" foods?
  3. Explain that fast foods and "go" foods might sound similar, but are very different. Because fast foods are usually high in fat, salt, and added sugar, they should actually be considered "slow" foods.
  4. Tell the students they should march (skip, hop, slide) clockwise in the circle until they hear you name a fast food (see below for fast foods).
  5. Tell them the first person who can either think of another way to prepare this fast food so it is healthier (turn it from "slow" to "go"), or think of a healthier food that could replace it should jog to the middle of the circle and share their idea.
  6. If multiple students come to the center, invite them all to share their ideas.
  7. If a student’s answer is not healthier than the original was, gently guide her or him to name a healthier alternative (see below for ideas).
  8. Continue playing until you have gone through all the foods or until time runs out.

Activity Note

Realistically, students will occasionally choose to eat fast food, sometimes because no other options are available. In those cases, encourage them to choose smaller portions (e.g. a small hamburger).


Common Fast Foods and "Go" Food Alternatives:

  • French fries (deep fried potatoes)--Have a boiled or baked potato without butter or sour cream and little or no salt
  • Cheeseburgers or "Big Macs" (ground beef with American cheese on a white bun)--Have a turkey or chicken burger with no (or low-fat) cheese on a whole grain bun
  • Soft drinks (made with high amounts of added-sugar)--Have water, seltzer, or 100% fruit juice
  • Ice-cream sundaes, milkshakes, "McFlurries" (made with high amounts of added sugar and whole milk)--Have a yogurt parfait, fruit smoothie, or carton of low-fat or skim milk
  • Salads with ranch dressing (made with whole milk)--Have low-fat dressing such as olive oil and vinegar or low-fat Italian dressing
  • Chips (made with lots of salt and fried in oil)--Have baked tortilla chips with salsa or pretzels
  • Candy bars (high in added sugar and fat)--Have apple or mango slices or carrot sticks

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.5.1, 1.5.2, 5.5.5, 7.5.1, 7.5.2
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.K-4.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

Youth and Schools