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Colors for Breakfast

Students get moving and learn the importance of eating a rainbow of breakfast foods.

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, breakfast

Description Students get moving and jumping while learning to eat a rainbow of breakfast foods.
Objective Students will recognize the importance of eating a variety of foods for breakfast.
Materials Red, orange, yellow, green, brown, and white construction paper (one per student)
  1. Ask the students to form a large circle.
  2. Ask a few students for examples of their favorite healthy breakfast foods. Say, "Even though you might love, love, love that food, if you ate it all day long every day, it wouldn’t taste good anymore. That’s our body’s way of saying that we need to eat lots of different foods, a variety of foods, to be healthy. Each food does something very special, and very different, for our body."
  3. Ask them to call out the colors they are wearing today. Bridge this discussion to the different colors of food.
  4. Emphasize how eating a variety of foods every day will help their bodies stay healthy and strong.
  5. Ask them, "What would the rainbow be without purple?" Give them time to respond, then say, "We need all the colors to make a rainbow." Tell them to "eat the rainbow!"
  6. Explain that they are going to play "Colors for Breakfast."
  7. Tell them you will call out a color and everyone wearing that color should jog to the center of the circle. If your students wear a uniform or are not wearing colorful clothing, you can distribute the construction paper and call students up by the color of their paper instead.
  8. The students in the center should work together to name as many healthy breakfast foods the same color as the one they are wearing, or as the paper they are holding, as possible (see below for ideas). You can help them brainstorm.
  9. The students on the outside of the circle should jump up and down five times every time they hear a food they have eaten before.
  10. Continue playing until you have gone through several colors.
  11. If time permits review some of the fruits mentioned and ask the students how they can include them in their breakfast meals (in cereal, oatmeal, whole fruit jam, 100% juice, sliced with peanut butter, by themselves, etc).

Activity Note

If a student names a food or drink high in added sugar or fat, gently guide her or him to think of a healthier choice. If there is confusion about naturally colored foods and dyed foods, explain that dyed foods, like colored candy, are "slow" foods and should not be eaten too often.

Background information

Fruit provides bodies with nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong. Fruits are an important source of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and other food components that can help reduce a person’s risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They also provide vitamins (such as A and C), minerals, are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and contain no cholesterol. 100% juice is one way to get fruit servings, but whole fruit is an even better choice.

In general, K-4th graders should eat 1 ½ servings of fruit per day and vary their fruit choices as fruits differ in nutrient content. One serving of fruit is about:

  •  one medium piece of fruit (apple, pear)
  •  six strawberries
  •  two plums
  •  fifteen grapes
  •  a half cup of 100% juice

Colorful Fruits:

  •  Red--apples, strawberries, raspberries, cherries
  •  Orange--oranges, cantaloupes, apricots, papayas, peaches
  •  Yellow--mangoes, lemons, bananas, pineapples
  •  Green--apples, kiwi, pears, avocados, limes, grapes
  •  Blue, purple, black--blueberries, plums, grapes, blackberries
  •  Pink--grapefruit, watermelon

Children should be encouraged to eat foods from each of the five food groupings everyday. These groupings are:

  •  grains (whole grains are healthiest)
  •  vegetables
  •  fruits
  •  milk and milk products (low-fat and skim milk products are the healthiest choices)
  •  meats, beans, nuts

For this age group, it is more effective to encourage variety through color, rather than food grouping.

Healthy ("Go") Colorful Breakfast Foods:

  •  Red--apples, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon as well as peppers and tomatoes (in an omelet)
  •  Brown--whole grain toast, oatmeal, cream of wheat or rice, cereals
  •  Orange and Yellow--fruits such as oranges, peaches, apricots, and bananas and vegetables (in an omelet) such as peppers
  •  White--vegetables (in an omelet) such as cauliflower and mushrooms, milk beverages and products, eggs
  •  Green--fruits such as grapes, apples, and pears and vegetables (in an omelet) such as spinach, peppers, and broccoli

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.2.1, 7.2.1, 7.2.2
NS: NS.K-4.6
NSPE: 1, 5

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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