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Breakfast Memory Moves

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

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, breakfast

Description: A fun oral and movement memory game that encourages students to share healthy breakfast foods.
Objective: Students will understand the benefits of eating breakfast and will identify some healthy breakfast foods.
  1. Gather the students into a large circle.
  2. Ask them why they think breakfast is an important meal (eating breakfast gives us energy for the day ahead). Ask for a few examples of common breakfast foods.
  3. Tell them foods high in added sugar (such as doughnuts) and foods high in fat (such as pork bacon) are not the healthiest options and should not be eaten often because they can slow our bodies down. Now ask for a few examples of healthy breakfast foods.
  4. Then, tell the class they are going to play a memory game.
  5. Ask them to think of their favorite healthy breakfast food and to think of a movement to represent their food. (The movement can represent how eating the food makes them feel, how to cook the food, etc. See below for ideas.)
  6. Explain that they will each say the name of their favorite healthy breakfast food while they do their movement.
  7. You should give the first example. You can say the word "blueberries" as you spin around to show "happy."
  8. The next student should repeat your food and movement and then say and perform their own, and so on until the last student, who must repeat all that came before her or him.
  9. If the activity is too difficult, divide the class into small groups or, when a student makes a mistake, have the next student start over with only her or his food and movement.
  10. If a student names a food or drink high in added sugar or fat, gently guide her or him to think of a healthier choice.
  11. If time permits, review the foods mentioned and reinforce the importance of eating a healthy breakfast 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

Activity Variation

To challenge the students you can time them to see how fast they can get all the way around the circle or challenge individual students to repeat as many foods and movements as possible.


Breakfast is an important meal. Growing bodies and developing brains rely heavily on the regular intake of food. When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for as long as eighteen hours without food, and this period of semi-starvation can create a lot of physical, intellectual, and behavioral problems. Breakfast eaters can concentrate better, have better attendance, are less irritable and fatigued, and have better control of their weight. Skipping breakfast is associated with increased body weight.

  • "Energy"/"Go" foods refer to nutritious foods which give the body the energy to go and grow.
  • "Empty"/"Slow" foods refer to foods high in fat and added sugar which can slow the body down.

Healthy ("Energy"/"Go") Breakfast Foods and Drinks:

  • roasted potatoes or hash browns (without butter)
  • low-fat granola or granola bars
  • whole grain cereal (Cheerios, Wheaties) with skim or low-fat milk
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • natural fruit smoothies
  • water
  • chicken or turkey sausage
  • beans
  • oatmeal with skim or low-fat milk and honey
  • whole grain (brown) bread or toast
  • cream of rice or wheat with water and honey
  • skim or low-fat yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • bananas
  • peaches
  • veggie omelets
  • scrambled and hard-boiled eggs
  • berry whole wheat or buckwheat pancakes
  • 100% orange juice

Less Healthy ("Empty"/"Slow") Breakfast Foods and Drinks:

  • doughnuts
  • danishes
  • high-sugar cereals like Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes
  • pork sausage or bacon
  • white bread or toast
  • high-sugar fruit juices like Kool-Aid and Hawaiian Punch
  • home fries (fried in oil or with butter)
  • coffee cake
  • white flour pancakes with syrup

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.8.1, 1.8.2, 7.8.2
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.5-8.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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