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Foods on Five!

Counting aloud, students move around in a circle, substituting multiples of "5" with healthy snack foods.

Tags: nutrition activities, middle school

Description: Counting aloud, students move around in a circle, substituting multiples of "5" with healthy snack foods.
Objective: Students will identify a variety of healthy snack foods.
Materials: None required
  1. Ask the students to stand in a large circle with enough room between them to stretch both arms out without touching anyone else.
  2. Next, ask them why it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods (because each different type of healthy food does something different and important for our bodies).
  3. Then, ask or tell them the five food groupings and give them examples of snack foods in each (see below).
  4. Explain that they are going to play a warm-up game. Tell the students they will jog (hop, slide) around the circle.
  5. You will pick one student to begin counting. That person should say “1.” The group should continue counting clockwise around the circle one person at a time to 50 as they move.
  6. Any time someone is supposed to say a multiple of five—5, 10, 15, etc., that student should replace the number with a healthy snack food. For example, 1-2-3-4-apple-6-7-8-9-popcorn.
  7. Explain that the object of the game is for the group to get to 50 without making a mistake. If one person forgets to name, or repeats, a snack food then everyone has to go back to the beginning and start over.
  8. Play the game. Encourage them to mention healthy snack foods from all five food groupings.
  9. If you wish to challenge the class, randomly call out different food groupings and tell them to only name foods within each grouping.

Activity Note

If a student names a food or drink high in fat or added sugar, gently guide her or him to come up with a healthier choice.


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

Healthy (“Energy”/“Go”) Lunch Foods From Each of the Five Food Groupings:

  • Grains—whole grain breads, tortillas, pretzels, English muffins
  • Fruits—bananas, apples, oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, cherries, tomatoes, grapes
  • Vegetables—celery, broccoli, carrots, snap peas
  • Meats, beans, and nuts—tuna fish, turkey, grilled chicken, hummus, cashews, almonds, pistachios, peanut butter
  • Milk and milk products—low-fat or skim milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese

Less Healthy (“Empty”/“Slow”) Snack Foods and Drinks:

  • soft drinks
  • hot dogs
  • whole milk
  • candy
  • cookies
  • doughnuts
  • white bread
  • french fries
  • potato chips

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.8.1, 1.8.2, 1.8.7, 5.8.4, 5.8.6, 7.8.1, 7.8.2
NSPE: 1, 5
NS: NUM.6-8.2

Further information about the national standards can be found here.

Youth and Schools