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The Hot Seat

Students learn how to always have a healthy lunch in this spirited game

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, lunch

Description: Students quickly pass a ball. When "lunch" is called, the holder runs to the center and helps solve a healthy lunch dilemma.
Objective: Students will brainstorm ways to overcome obstacles to eating a healthy lunch.
Materials: Beanbag, Koosh Ball, two tennis balls or other small ball
  1. Divide the class in two halves and have each half form a circle.
  2. Ask them why it is important to eat lunch (because it keeps us energized; it helps our bones stay strong; it helps us concentrate, etc.)
  3. Then, ask them why some people don’t eat lunch (because they don’t like the cafeteria food; they don’t have money; they’re trying to lose weight; there’s no time, etc).
  4. Try to remember the obstacles the students mention and use these obstacles in the game.
  5. Give each group a ball and tell each to pass the ball around the circle as quickly and safely as possible.
  6. Whoever has the ball when you say "LUNCH" should hold onto it and run to the middle of their circle to the "hot seat." Whoever gets there first has ten seconds to come up with a solution to an obstacle you describe.
  7. The goal of the game is to help the character in each scenario eat a healthy lunch.
  8. If her or his solution makes sense, her or his team gets the point.
  9. If she or he does not come up with a solution within ten seconds or if her or his solution doesn’t make sense, the other team’s representative has a chance to respond.
  10. Some sample scenarios are:
    • Ricardo doesn’t like the cafeteria food.
    • Ashley wants to lose weight.
    • Crystal doesn’t have any money.
    • Shawn feels he has no time to eat because his lunch period is so short.
    • Monica isn’t hungry.
    • Hugo left his lunch at home.

Because lunch periods are rushed or they don’t like the food being served, etc., many students skip lunch or eat unhealthy snacks for lunch. For healthy growth and development, it is essential to eat a balanced meal for lunch.

A healthy lunch should be 1/3 of the daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for energy and nutrients and contain foods from several food groupings (whole grains; low-fat or skim milk and milk products; fruits; vegetables; and meats, beans, and nuts).

Possible Scenario Solutions:

  • Ricardo doesn’t like the cafeteria food—The cafeteria usually serves a variety of foods so he should try some new and different foods or bring his own lunch.
  • Ashley wants to lose weight—Skipping meals is not a good way to lose weight; in fact, it could cause her to gain weight because she may end up getting so hungry she eats more later. She should eat healthier foods low in fat and added sugar instead and exercise regularly.
  • Crystal doesn’t have any money—Her friends can share with her or lend her money. If it is a recurring problem, she can see if she qualifies for the school’s free lunch program.
  • Shawn never has time to eat because his lunch period is so short—Lunch periods are short, but it’s important to make the best of them. He should focus more on eating and choose what he wants while he waits in line.
  • Monica isn’t hungry—It is not wise to eat when you’re not hungry, but Monica will probably get hungry sometime in the afternoon when she’s in class and unable to eat. She should try to "get her body on schedule" by eating breakfast in the morning and cutting down on snacking.
  • Hugo left his lunch at home—He can buy the cafeteria lunch.

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.5.1, 1.5.2, 2.5.4, 5.5.5, 7.5.1, 7.5.2
NSPE: 1, 2, 5
NS: NS.5-8.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

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