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Vegetable Scramble

Students get moving while learning about a variety of vegetables

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, dinner

Description: Students hop in and out of a giant circle according to the vegetables they hear.
Objective: Students will recognize a variety of vegetables they can have for dinner.
Materials: Small bell, whistle, or dinner-related noisemaker (e.g. salad tongs banging on salad bowl); pictures of less common vegetables or the vegetables themselves
  1. Gather the students into a circle.
  2. Tell them it is important to eat vegetables because they keep the body healthy and strong. Explain that each vegetable has different vitamins and minerals, which is why it is important to eat a variety of them. Tell them broccoli keeps hearts healthy and peas keep bones healthy.
  3. Ask them to share some ways vegetables can be eaten for dinner (on their own or in salads, soups, or sauces). (If you have them, pass out the pictures or vegetables so the students become acquainted with them.)
  4. Explain that they are going to play "Vegetable Scramble."
  5. You will call out various vegetables (see below). For example, you can say "If you have ever eaten zucchini for dinner, change spots when the ‘dinner bell’ rings."
  6. Everyone who has eaten zucchini for dinner should hop to a new empty spot in the circle. (For the "dinner bell", you can mimic the sound of a bell or use a real bell, whistle, or noisemaker.)
  7. If only one student has tried the vegetable, she or he should hop to the center of the circle and back to her or his original spot.
  8. You can vary the movements (skip, jump, slide, etc.) the students use to move around the circle or ask those who have both tried and liked carrots to change spots.
  9. You can also have them play "Musical Chairs" style so the person in the center is trying to steal someone else‘s spot.
  10. If time permits, ask each student to name one new vegetable they will try. (You can even suggest they ask their parents to bring home one new vegetable each week or month.)

Activity Note

While it is important to introduce students to new vegetables, be sensitive to the limitations of lifestyle, income, transportation, etc. Try to include uncommon vegetables, but not so uncommon that you couldn‘t find them in a local grocery store.

Activity Variation

Once the students get the hang of the game, invite a student to be the new leader.


Vegetables provide carbohydrates, vitamins A and C, and folate. (Folate helps the body form red blood cells which prevent anemia.) Most also provide high amounts of fiber, and some, especially dark, leafy greens, provide essential minerals such as potassium and iron. They keep the eyes, skin, and blood healthy, help reduce blood pressure, protect against infections, heal cuts and wounds, keep teeth and gums healthy, prevent constipation, and help children maintain a proper body weight because when they eat vegetables they feel full on fewer calories.

In general, 5th -8th graders should eat 2 ½ servings of vegetables a day. One serving of vegetables is about:

  • ½ cup non-leafy raw or cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup raw leafy vegetables (such as spinach)


  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • peas
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • celery
  • spinach
  • pumpkin
  • lettuce
  • sprouts
  • kale
  • beets
  • corn
  • turnips
  • okra
  • cabbage
  • peppers (all colors)
  • zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • cauliflower
  • green beans
  • cucumbers
  • eggplant
  • summer squash
  • winter squash
  • radishes
  • rutabaga
  • collard greens
  • snap peas
  • bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • parsnips

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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