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Story Time

Students learn to choose healthy lunches while using their storytelling skills

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, lunch

Description: Students discuss and act out their healthy lunch eating routines.
Objective: Students will share how preparing and eating lunch makes them feel.
  1. Gather the students into a circle and instruct them to sit down.
  2. Ask them why it is important to eat healthy foods for lunch ("go" foods give us the energy to learn and play, etc.).
  3. Ask them how they feel when they skip lunch (tired, hungry, weak, distracted, etc.). Ask them if they like feeling this way.
  4. Tell them it is "Lunch Story Time." Tell them about your own lunch ritual. Talk about what you ate for lunch yesterday (or today) and how it made you feel. Describe how the food feels, smells, sounds, 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 lunch eating routines in the middle of the circle. Guide them with questions:
    • What will or did they eat for lunch today?
    • How does the food look, taste, and smell?
    • What do they, their families, or the cafeteria workers do to prepare the food? Does it have to be cooked or toasted, chopped or stirred?
    • What are their favorite parts about eating lunch?
    • How do they feel after eating?
  6. 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.
  7. Once they finish their stories, invite the students who also enjoy these foods to jump five times in place.
  8. After a few students have had a turn, ask some new students to mime their lunch routines (how they prepare and eat it) in the center of the circle (one at a time) without talking. Have the rest of the class imitate the mimes.
  9. Then, invite the class to guess what the lunch foods are.
  10. Once they have guessed correctly, the students who enjoy these lunch foods should jump all the way around the outside of the circle and back to their spots.

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 or skim milk and milk products; fruits; vegetables; and 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.

Healthy ("Go") Lunch Foods and Drinks:

  • 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

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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