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Dinner Moves

Students work together to create a dance about how their favorite, healthy dinner foods make them feel.

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, dinner

Description: The class creates dance moves based on how they feel when they eat their favorite, healthy, dinner foods.
Objective: Students will share how eating a healthy dinner makes them feel.
  1. Gather the students into a large circle.
  2. Ask them why we eat dinner (to refuel our bodies with energy lost during the day). Ask them how they feel when they skip dinner (tired, hungry, weak, distracted). Ask them if they like feeling this way.
  3. Tell them foods or drinks high in added sugar (such as soft drinks) and foods high in fat (such as fried chicken) are not the healthiest options and should not be eaten often because they can slow our bodies down.
  4. Tell the class they are going to create another "Food Dance," but this time with dinner foods.
  5. Ask them to think about their favorite, healthy dinner food, how eating it makes them feel, and to think of a movement to show that feeling (some movement ideas are: to show "full," rub your tummy; to show "happy," twirl around; to show "refreshed," stretch your arms high above your head; to show "fast," pump your arms, etc). Explain that they will each say the name of their favorite healthy dinner food while they do their movement.
  6. You should give the first example. You can say "grilled chicken" as you jump up and down to show "excited."
  7. The next student should repeat your food and movement, and then say and perform their own, and so on until the last student, who must repeat all that came before her or him.
  8. If the activity is too difficult, divide the class into small groups or, when a student makes a mistake, have the next student start over with only her or his food and movement.
  9. 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.
  10. Reinforce the importance of eating a healthy dinner every day.

Eating dinner is important because it refuels the body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best. Dinner is also a social event, and can be quality time spent with family members. Frequent family meals are associated with better grades, a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using marijuana, and a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts.

"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") Dinner Foods and Drinks:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • brown rice
  • black beans
  • grilled tuna
  • corn
  • green beans
  • mushrooms
  • snap peas
  • salads
  • tofu
  • watermelon
  • yogurt
  • zucchini
  • baked potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
  • steamed cauliflower
  • carrot sticks
  • grilled chicken
  • grilled turkey
  • grilled salmon
  • low-fat macaroni and cheese
  • low-fat milk
  • whole-grain (brown) noodles
  • low-fat vegetable pizza
  • turkey sausage
  • corn or whole wheat tortillas
  • vegetable burgers


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

  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs
  • french fries
  • creamy soups
  • soft drinks
  • cookies
  • refried beans
  • fried chicken
  • fried fish sticks
  • high fat pepperoni pizza
  • General Tso's chicken
  • sweet and sour chicken

Related National Standards

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

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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