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Lunch Moves

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

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, lunch

Description: The class creates dance moves based on how they feel when they eat their favorite, healthy, lunch foods.
Objective: Students will share how eating a healthy lunch makes them feel.
  1. Gather the students into a large circle.
  2. Ask them why we eat lunch (to give our bodies the energy to learn and play). Ask them how they feel when they skip lunch (tired, hungry, weak, distracted). Ask them if they like feeling this way. Tell them foods high in added sugar (such as cookies and cake) and foods high in fat (such as potato chips and french fries) are not the healthiest options and should not be eaten often because they can slow our bodies down.
  3. Tell the class they are going to create a "Food Dance."
  4. Quickly brainstorm some "feeling" words with them (happy, excited, calm, refreshed, etc). If possible, write the words down on the board or paper.
  5. Ask them to think of their favorite, healthy lunch food, how it feels to eat it, and to think of a movement to show that feeling (see below).
  6. Explain that they should each say the name of their favorite, healthy lunch food while they do their movement.
  7. You should give the first example. You can say the word "apples" as you jump up and down to show "excited."
  8. Make your way around the circle. Have the group imitate each student after her or his turn.
  9. 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.
  10. If time permits, challenge individual students to repeat the foods and movements of as many students as possible and reinforce the importance of eating a healthy lunch every day.

Activity Note

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

Because lunch periods are rushed or they don’t like the food being served, etc., many students skip lunch or eat unhealthy snacks for lunch. For healthy growth and development, it is essential to eat a balanced meal for lunch. A healthy lunch should be 1/3 of the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for energy and nutrients and contain foods from several food groupings (whole grains, low-fat skim milk or milk products, fruits, vegetables, meats, beans, and nuts).

"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.

  • baked fish
  • hummus
  • beans
  • salad
  • brown rice
  • skim milk
  • grapes
  • sandwiches
  • water
  • whole grain pasta
  • wheat crackers
  • low-fat yogurt
  • low-fat string cheese
  • carrot sticks
  • cucumber slices
  • baked potatoes
  • low-fat chicken burritos
  • 100% fruit juice

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

  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs
  • creamy soups
  • white bread
  • soft drinks
  • cookies
  • potato chips
  • fried chicken
  • french fries
  • fried fish sticks
  • pepperoni pizza
  • soft drinks

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.2.1, 7.2.1, 7.2.2
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.K-4.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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