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Vegetable Scramble

Students get moving while learning about a variety of vegetables

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school, lunch

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 lunch.
Materials (optional): Small bell, whistle, or lunch-related noisemaker (e.g. salad tongs banging on salad bowl); pictures of vegetables or the vegetables themselves
  1. Gather the students into a circle.
  2. Explain that vegetables are a great thing to eat for lunch because they give us the energy to run and learn, help us fight off colds, and digest our food.
  3. Tell them there are lots of different kinds of vegetables and each one does something important and different for our bodies, such as carrots, which help our eyesight, and broccoli, which keeps our hearts healthy.
  4. Then, tell them vegetables can be eaten for lunch on their own or in salads, soups, sandwiches, or sauces. (If you have them, pass out the pictures or vegetables so the students become acquainted with them.)
  5. Explain that they are going to play "Vegetable Scramble."
  6. You will call out various vegetables (see below). For example, if you say "If you have ever eaten carrots for lunch, change spots when the ‘lunch bell’ rings." Everyone who has tried carrots should hop to a new empty spot in the circle. (For the "lunch 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 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 some one else’s spot.
  10. If time permits, ask each student to name one new vegetable she or he will try.

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 graders should eat 2-2 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
  • radishes
  • rudabaga
  • collard greens
  • snap peas
  • bok choy
  • Brussels sprouts
  • parsnips

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.2.1, 5.2.1, 7.2.1
NSPE: 1, 2, 5
NS: NS.5-8.6

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

Youth and Schools