AlertThe application for the 2017 United Airlines NYC Half is now open. Enter the drawing or claim your guaranteed entry today!

Colors for Lunch

Students get moving and learn the importance of eating a rainbow of lunch foods

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, lunch

Description: Students get moving and jumping while learning to eat a rainbow of foods.
Objective: Students will recognize the importance of eating a variety of foods for lunch.
Materials: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple, pink, brown, white, and black construction paper (one per student)
  1. Ask the students to form a large circle. Stand in the center.
  2. Tell them just as with breakfast, there are many healthy lunch foods to choose from. Ask them for a few examples.
  3. Remind them it is important to eat lots of different kinds of foods everyday. Emphasize how eating a variety of foods every day will help their bodies stay healthy and strong.
  4. Tell them they should eat a variety of textures, flavors, and colors, and that today they will focus on colors. Tell them to "eat the rainbow!"
  5. Next, tell them you are going to play "Colors for Lunch."
  6. Explain that you will call out a color and everyone wearing that color should jog to the center of the circle. (If your students wear a uniform or are not wearing colorful clothing, you can distribute the construction papers and call students up by the color of their papers instead).
  7. The students in the center should work together to name as many healthy lunch foods the same color as the one they are wearing, or as the paper they are holding, as possible (see below). You can help them brainstorm.
  8. The students on the outside of the circle should jump up and down five times every time they hear a food they have eaten before.
  9. If time permits, review some of the healthy lunch foods mentioned.

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

  • grains (whole grains are healthiest)
  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • milk and milk products (low-fat milk and milk products are the healthiest choices)
  • meats, beans, and nuts

One way to encourage variety is through color.

"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") Colorful Lunch Foods:

  • Red—cherries, apples, raspberries, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, beans
  • Orange—oranges, peaches, mangoes, low-fat cheddar cheese, carrots
  • Yellow—bananas, peppers, corn, pineapples
  • Green—string beans, lettuce, spinach, kiwi, broccoli, apples, pears
  • Blue, purple—blueberries, corn, eggplant, cabbage, plums, grapes
  • Pink—grapefruit, fish
  • Brown—whole wheat bread, bagels, pasta, rice, peanut butter, potatoes, turkey, oats (granola)
  • Black—black beans, blackberries
  • White—low-fat milk, low-fat mozzarella cheese, coconuts, yogurt, fish

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

  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs
  • creamy soups
  • white bread
  • soft drinks
  • cookies
  • potato chips
  • fried chicken
  • french fries
  • fried fish sticks
  • pepperoni pizza

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.8.1, 1.8.2, 1.8.7, 5.8.6, 7.8.1, 7.8.2
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NS.5-8.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

Youth and Schools

New York Road Runners Mission