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Story Time

Students learn how to make a healthy dinner while using their storytelling skills

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, dinner

Description: Students discuss and act out their healthy dinner eating routines.
Objective: Students will share how preparing and eating dinner makes them feel.
  1. Gather the students into a circle and have them sit down.
  2. Ask them why it is important to eat healthy foods for dinner (healthy dinner foods refuel our bodies with energy spent 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 it is "Story Time" again, but this time it is "Dinner Story Time."
  4. Tell them about your own dinner ritual, what you ate for dinner yesterday, and how it made you feel. Describe how the food smells and tastes. Use movements to show how you prepare and eat the food.
  5. Next, ask individual students to tell the story of their own dinner eating routines in the middle of the circle.
  6. Guide them with questions:
    • What will they eat tonight?
    • How does the food look, taste, smell?
    • What do they or their families do to prepare the food? Does it have to be cooked or toasted, chopped or stirred?
    • What are their favorite parts about eating dinner?
    • Do they talk with their family during dinner?
    • How do they feel after eating?
  7. If a student names a food or drink high in fat or added sugar, gently guide her or him to think of a healthier choice.
  8. Once they finish their story, invite the students who also enjoy this food to jump five times in place.
  9. After a few students have had a turn, ask some new students to mime their dinner routines (how they prepare and eat it) in the center of the circle (one at a time) without talking.
  10. Have the rest of the class imitate the mimes and then guess what the dinner foods are. Once they have guessed correctly, the students who enjoy this dinner food should jump all the way around the outside of the circle and back to their spots.

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 it 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
  • carrot sticks
  • corn
  • green beans
  • mushrooms
  • snap peas
  • salads
  • tofu
  • watermelon
  • yogurt
  • zucchini
  • baked potato
  • 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, 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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