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Breakfast Train

By forming a train, students learn how different foods fuel their bodies

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, breakfast

Description Students move through the room as a "breakfast train,” speeding up when they hear a healthy breakfast food to fuel their bodies.
Objective Students will identify a variety of healthy breakfast foods.
  1. Have the students stand in a single file line behind you. Say, "Let's pretend to be a 'breakfast train.'"
  2. Ask them what trains run on (fuel). Then ask them what people run on (food).
  3. Explain that food is fuel for our bodies. We need food so we have energy to learn and play. Tell them healthy foods give our bodies the most energy to learn and play.
  4. Ask them why it is important to eat a healthy breakfast (eating healthy foods in the morning gives us energy to run and play all day long).
  5. Ask the students for some examples of healthy breakfast foods (see examples below).
  6. Then tell them to silently choose which healthy breakfast food they are on the breakfast train.
  7. Next, say to the students "Chew, chew, here we go!" Begin to jog slowly around the playing space in your single file line.
  8. Explain that you are going to "fuel up" with different breakfast foods.
  9. Each time someone names a healthy breakfast food, the train should speed up and each time someone names a "not so healthy" food high in added sugar or fat, the train should slow down. When that happens, they can even beg for someone to name a healthy food so they can go faster.
  10. If possible, encourage the students not to repeat foods and to make "fueling up" noises as they move.
Background information

Breakfast is an important meal. Growing bodies and developing brains rely heavily on the regular intake of food. When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for as long as eighteen hours without food, and this period of semi-starvation can create a lot of physical, intellectual and behavioral problems. Breakfast eaters can concentrate better, have better attendance, are less irritable and fatigued, and have better control of their weight. Skipping breakfast is associated with increased body weight.

"Go" foods refer to nutritious foods which give the body the energy to go and grow. "Slow" foods refer to foods high in fat and added sugar which can slow the body down.

Healthy ("Go") Breakfast Foods and Drinks:

  •  chicken sausage
  •  turkey sausage
  •  beans
  •  oatmeal with skim or low-fat milk and honey
  •  whole grain (brown) bread or toast
  •  cream of rice or wheat with water and honey
  •  skim or low-fat yogurt, cheese, and milk
  •  bananas
  •  peaches
  •  spinach omelets
  •  scrambled eggs
  •  berry whole wheat or buckwheat pancakes
  •  100% orange juice
  •  whole-grain cereals like Cheerios and Wheaties

Less Healthy ("Slow") Breakfast Foods and Drinks:

  •  doughnuts
  •  danishes
  •  high-sugar cereals like Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes
  •  pork sausage or bacon
  •  white bread or toast
  •  high-sugar fruit juices like Kool-Aid and Hawaiian Punch
  •  home fries (fried in oil or with butter)
  •  coffee cake
  •  white flour pancakes with syrup

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.2.1, 7.2.1
NS: NS.K-4.6
NSPE: 1, 5

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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