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Soul Train

Students dance and brainstorm healthy foods to add to pasta in this entertaining game

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, dinner

Description: Students suggest healthy additions to pasta dishes as they dance through the "soul train."
Objective: Students will recognize the importance of eating whole grains and identify a variety of healthy foods they can eat with pasta.
  1. Tell the students to form a "soul train," two lines facing each other. Stand at one end of the "train."
  2. Ask the students if they have ever eaten spaghetti for dinner. Explain that spaghetti is made from grain and belongs to the grain food grouping.
  3. Stress that whole grains are usually brown and are better food choices than white grains. Explain that white bread and pasta come from the same plant as brown bread and pasta, but have had a lot of their healthy parts taken out of them.
  4. Ask them for ideas of other foods from the grain grouping (see below for ideas).
  5. Reintroduce the concept of eating a variety of foods. Tell them each food is different and special and that they should try to eat different kinds of grains and other healthy foods for dinner.
  6. Tell them there are many foods that can be eaten with whole grain pasta to make it even healthier.
  7. Ask them for some ideas of foods that can be eaten with pasta (see below for food suggestions). Encourage any healthy answers.
  8. Tell them each student is going to have a turn to call out the name of her or his food and then dance through the "soul train" from one end to the other as if they have just eaten that food. It is ok if there are repeats.
  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 substitute.
  10. Explain that the line should shuffle down to make room for each new student as they come to the front of the line. Ask them to clap as each student comes through.

Activity Note

Students should be advised to choose tomato-based sauces rather than creamy sauces made with whole milk or cream for their pasta meals.


Pasta is an excellent food choice because it is a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and iron. Pasta by itself is low in fat, and provides energy that helps children to learn, play, and stay physically active. Whole grain pasta is best.

Healthy "Go" Foods that can be Added to Pasta:

  • lean meats such as grilled chicken and turkey
  • turkey or chicken sausage
  • beans
  • a variety of seafood such as shrimp and clams
  • a variety of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, peas, snap peas, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, cranberries, raisins, pears, fresh herbs, and peppers
  • low-fat cheeses such as mozzarella, cheddar and goat cheese

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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