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Beanbag Toss

Students learn healthy food choices in this fast-paced game

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, dinner

Description: Students throw and catch a beanbag and hop around while naming healthy dinner foods.
Objective: Students will identify the five food groupings and a variety of healthy dinner foods.
Materials: Beanbag or Koosh Ball
  1. Ask the students to stand in a circle.
  2. Ask them what food groupings are (categories of different types of foods based on what they provide for and how they affect our bodies). Ask or tell them the five food groupings and an example of a dinner food in each (fruits— melon; vegetables— spinach; milk and milk products— skim milk; grains— whole wheat pasta; meats, beans, and nuts— grilled chicken).
  3. Remind them that it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods because each one does something different and special for our bodies.
  4. Ask them each to raise one hand and to keep it raised until they receive the beanbag so everyone knows who still needs a turn.
  5. Toss the beanbag (using an underhand throw) to a student. This student should then throw the beanbag to a new student.
  6. Each student should catch the beanbag at least once.
  7. Now have the students play the game again, only this time, after the student tosses the beanbag across the circle, she or he should follow it by hopping over to that location and taking up that place in the circle.
  8. The student who receives the beanbag should catch it, state one favorite healthy dinner food and then throw the beanbag to a different student.
  9. There should be continuous movement as the students throw and catch.
  10. If a student names a "slow" food, challenge her or him to think of a healthier choice. See how long the class can keep the beanbag moving and how many healthy foods they can name. (See below for a more challenging version of this activity.)

Activity Variation

If you wish to challenge the students further, call out a category. When they receive the beanbag, they must name a healthy food in that category (e.g. white food, sticky food, crunchy food, red food, food starting with a "B", food that can go in a sandwich, a vegetable, a fruit, etc.).


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.

"Energy"/"Go" foods refer to nutritious foods which give the body the energy to go and grow.

Possible Healthy ("Energy"/"Go" Food) Responses:

  • White foods--cauliflower, low-fat or skim milk or yogurt, chicken, potatoes (without butter), onions
  • Sticky foods--any fruits (raisins, mangoes) or natural fruit juices, honey (for dessert)
  • Crunchy foods--carrots, cucumber, apples, nuts
  • Red foods--red peppers, tomatoes, cherries (for dessert)
  • Foods starting with a "B"--bananas, beets, blueberries (for dessert)
  • Foods that can go in a sandwich--turkey, chicken, tomatoes, lettuce
  • Vegetables--spinach, zucchini
  • Fruits--grapes, oranges, raspberries

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.8.1, 1.8.2, 1.8.7, 5.8.4, 5.8.6, 6.8.1, 7.8.1, 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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