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Loopy Laps

Students alter their speed according to the healthiness of dinner foods in this dynamic game.

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, dinner

Description: In this game, students will speed up or slow down their movements in response to the healthiness of the food named.
Objective: Students will distinguish between "go" (healthy) and "slow" (less healthy) dinner foods.
  1. Gather the students into a circle around you.
  2. Quickly review what makes a food a "go" food vs. a "slow" food. ("Go" foods help their bodies play and grow. "Slow" foods are high in fat and added sugar and can slow their bodies down.)
  3. Remind them that although sugar can make them feel excited at first, it will make them feel very tired after a while. Ask them if they like feeling tired.
  4. Explain that you will list some dinner foods (select examples from the "go" and "slow" foods listed below) and ask the students to call out "go" or "slow" for each one.
  5. Once they have correctly identified some foods, explain that you are going to play "'Go' or 'Slow'?" again, but this time with dinner foods.
  6. Tell them you are going to name dinner foods. If they think a food is a "go" dinner food, they should jog (skip or hop) in a circle. If they think a food is a "slow" dinner food, they should slow-motion walk in a circle.
  7. Demonstrate the movements, then start the game with a "go" food. Have the students perform each action for 10-15 seconds before naming a new food.
  8. If you wish to challenge the group further and keep them on their toes, pick up the pace as you switch between "slow" and "go" foods.
  9. End the activity by reviewing some foods and their "go" or "slow" classifications with the class. Remind the class to choose "go" foods more often.

Although all foods can fit into a healthy eating plan in moderation, it is important to reinforce that healthier foods give the body more energy to play and grow. "Junk foods," (processed foods high in fat and added sugar), contain a significant amount of calories but add very little nutrition to kids’ diets.

It is important to connect kids with their food and get them thinking about food less in terms of "good" and "gross" and more in terms of "healthy" and "less healthy" (or "go" and "slow").

Healthy ("Go") Dinner Foods and Drinks:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • brown rice
  • black beans
  • carrot sticks
  • corn
  • green beans
  • mushrooms
  • snap peas
  • salads
  • tofu
  • watermelon
  • yogurt
  • zucchini
  • baked potatoes
  • steamed broccoli
  • steamed cauliflower
  • grilled chicken
  • grilled turkey
  • grilled tuna
  • 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:

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

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.2.1, 5.2.1, 7.2.1
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.K-4.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

Youth and Schools