AlertWant to get ahead of the pack for the 2015 Brooklyn Half? Volunteer at this year's event and get guaranteed entry next year! 

Red Light Green Light

A fun physical activity that teaches students about how their bodies react to different breakfast foods

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, breakfast

OVERVIEW
Description: Students move or freeze depending on whether a healthy or unhealthy dinner food is named.
Objective: Students will distinguish between "go" (healthy) and "slow" (less healthy) breakfast foods.
ACTIVITY
  1. Ask the students to stand against a wall facing you.
  2. Tell them foods such as bananas, strawberries, spinach, milk, tomatoes, whole grain (brown) toast, low-fat yogurt, and eggs are called "go" foods because they make their bodies strong and healthy so they can play and grow.
  3. Ask them if they have ever had a doughnut for breakfast. Explain that because doughnuts are high in fat and added sugar they should not be eaten too often.
  4. Tell them foods that taste sugary (candy) and foods that feel greasy (bacon) are called "slow" foods because they can slow their bodies down. Explain that "slow" foods are also called "junk foods." Point out that although sugar can make them feel excited at first, it will make them feel very tired after a while. Ask them if they like feeling tired. Emphasize students should choose "go" breakfast foods more often.
  5. Explain that you will list some breakfast foods (select examples from the "go" and "slow" foods listed below) and ask the students to call out "go" or "slow" for each one.
  6. Once they have correctly identified some foods, play a game called "'Go' Food/'Slow' Food" with the students.
  7. Call out the breakfast foods again in a random order. Start the game with a "go" food.
  8. If a food is a "go" breakfast food, the students should jog (or skip or hop) toward you at the other end of the room. If a food is a "slow" food, they should freeze in place.
  9. If a student moves after a "slow" food is called or freezes when a "go" food is called, they must go back to the start.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Although all foods can fit into a healthy eating plan in moderation, it is important to reinforce that healthier foods give the body more energy to play and grow. "Junk foods," (processed foods high in fat and added sugar), contain a significant amount of calories but add very little nutrition to kids’ diets.

It is important to connect kids with their food and get them thinking about food less in terms of "good" and "gross" and more in terms of "healthy" and "less healthy" (or "go" and "slow").

Healthy ("Go") Breakfast Foods and Drinks:

  • 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
  • spinach omelets
  • scrambled eggs
  • berry whole wheat or buckwheat pancakes
  • 100% orange juice
  • whole-grain cereals like Cheerios and Wheaties

Less Healthy ("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: 1.5.1, 1.5.2, 5.5.5, 7.5.1, 7.5.2
NSPSELA: E3b
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.5-8.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

Youth and Schools