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Foods on Five!

Students use their math skills to learn about healthy snack choices

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, snacks

Description: Counting aloud, students move around in a circle, substituting multiples of "5" with healthy snack foods.
Objective: Students will identify the five food groupings and a variety of healthy snack foods.
  1. Ask the students to stand in a large circle with enough room between them to stretch both arms out without touching anyone else.
  2. Next, ask them why it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods (because each different type of healthy food does something different and important for our bodies).
  3. Then, ask or tell them the five food groupings and give them examples of snack foods in each (see below).
  4. Explain that they are going to play a warm-up game. Tell the students they will jog (hop, slide) around the circle.
  5. You will pick one student to begin counting. That person should say "1." The group should continue counting clockwise around the circle one person at a time to 50 as they move. Any time someone is supposed to say a multiple of five—5, 10, 15, etc., that student should replace the number with a healthy snack food. For example, 1-2-3-4-apple-6-7-8-9-popcorn.
  6. Explain that the object of the game is for the group to get to 50 without making a mistake. If one person forgets to name or repeats a snack food then everyone has to go back to the beginning and start over.
  7. Play the game. Encourage them to mention healthy snack foods from all five food groupings.
  8. If you wish to challenge the class, randomly call out different food groupings and tell them to only name foods within each grouping.

Activity Note

If a student names a food or drink high in fat or added sugar, gently guide her or him to come up with a healthier choice.


Children should be encouraged to eat healthy foods from each of the five food groupings everyday.

Healthy ("Go") Snack Foods from Each of the Five Food Groupings:

  • Grains--whole grain breads, tortillas, pretzels, Engligh muffins
  • Fruit--bananas, apples, oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, cheeries, tomatoes, grapes
  • Vegetables--celery, broccoli, carrots, snap peas
  • Meats, beans, nuts--tuna fish, turkey, grilled chicken, hummus, cashews, almonds, pistachios, peanut butter
  • Milk and milk products--low-fat or skim milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese

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

  • hot dogs
  • whole milk
  • candy
  • cookies
  • doughnuts
  • white bread
  • french fries
  • potato chips
  • soft drinks

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.5.1, 5.5.5, 7.5.1
NSPLS: insert
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.K-4.6
NM: NUM:3-5.2

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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