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Colors for Dinner

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

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, dinner

Description: Students get moving and jumping while learning to eat a rainbow of dinner foods.
Objective: Students will recognize the importance of eating a variety of foods for dinner.
Materials: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple, pink, brown, white, and black construction paper (one piece of paper per student)
  1. Ask the students to form a large circle. Stand in the center.
  2. Ask them to call out the colors they are wearing today.
  3. Bridge this discussion to the different colors of food. Remind them it is important to eat different kinds of foods, or a variety of foods, because each food does something very different and very special for our bodies.
  4. Emphasize how eating a variety of colors at dinnertime will help their bodies get the energy they need to learn and play all day long. Tell them they should "eat the rainbow!"
  5. Explain that you are going to play "Colors for Dinner."
  6. Remind them that you need every color to make a rainbow. 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 papers and call students up by the color of their papers instead.
  7. Next, explain that the students in the center should work together to name as many healthy dessert (e.g. fruit) or dinner foods the same color as the one they are wearing as possible. You can help them brainstorm.
  8. The students forming the circle should jump up and down five times every time they hear a food they have eaten before.
  9. If time permits, review some of the healthy dinner foods mentioned.

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.


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 milk and 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 Dinner and Dessert Foods:

  • Red--apples, strawberries, raspberries, peppers, beans
  • Orange--oranges, peppers, pumpkin, squash, peaches
  • Yellow--corn, squash, peppers, pineapple
  • Green--lettuce, broccoli, spinach, apples
  • Blue or purple--blueberries, corn, blueberry yogurt, eggplant, plums, cabbage
  • Pink--grapefruit, salmon
  • Brown--bread, rice, peanut butter, beans
  • White--low-fat milk, turkey, chicken, fish, beans, cauliflower
  • Black--beans, blackberries, seaweed

Related National Standards

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

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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