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Hot Potato

Students learn about healthy lunch choices in this trivia game

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, lunch

Description: Students pass a beanbag "Hot Potato" style, answering lunch trivia questions whenever you say "freeze!"
Objective: Students will recognize the importance of eating a variety of foods for lunch.
Materials: Tennis ball, Koosh Ball, or beanbag
  1. Ask the students to stand in a large circle and practice passing the ball from one person to the next.
  2. Tell them there are many healthy lunch foods to choose from.
  3. Ask a few students for examples of their favorite healthy lunch foods.
  4. Remind them that even though they might love, love, love that food, if they ate it all day long every day it wouldn’t taste good anymore. Say, "That’s our body’s way of saying we need lots of different kinds of foods, a variety of foods, to be healthy. Each food does something very special and very different for our bodies (e.g. apples which keep our skin healthy and milk which keeps our bones healthy)."
  5. Hand one student the ball. Explain that they are going to play "Q&A Toss".
  6. The students should pass the ball from one person to the other around the circle ("Hot Potato" style) until you say "LUNCH”.  Whoever has the ball when you say "LUNCH" should hold onto the ball as you ask a question. After they answer the question they should continue passing the ball.
  7. Some sample questions are:
    • What is a red fruit you can have at lunch?
    • What is your favorite healthy drink?
    • What is your favorite sandwich to eat at lunch?
    • What is your favorite green lunch food?
    • What crunchy vegetables can you eat for lunch?
    • What is your favorite orange lunch food?
    • What is your favorite flavor of low-fat yogurt?
  8. If time permits, review some of the healthy lunch foods mentioned.

Activity Note

If a student names a food or drink high in sugar or fat, gently guide her or him to think of a healthier substitute (e.g., if they say "soda," remind them soda is high in added sugar and is a "slow" drink.  Ask them to name a "go" drink such as low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice, etc).


Children should be encouraged to eat foods from each of the five food groupings every day. These groupings are:

  • grains (whole grains are healthiest)
  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • milk and milk products (low-fat milk or 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.

Possible Responses:

  • Red fruits--apples, raspberries, strawberries
  • Healthy drinks--low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice and other natural fruit juices, natural fruit smoothies, water, seltzer
  • Healthy sandwiches--grilled turkey, chicken, or tuna on whole grain (brown) bread with lettuce
  • Green foods--spinach, string beans, cucumbers, apples
  • Crunchy vegetables--carrots, cucumbers, peppers, snap peas
  • Healthy orange foods--carrots, low-fat cheddar cheese, oranges
  • Low-fat yogurt flavors--strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, vanilla, peach

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.2.1, 7.2.1
NSPE: 1, 2, 5
NS: NS.K-4.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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