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Eat the Rainbow!

An interactive game that teaches students the importance of eating a variety of foods

Tags: nutrition activities, elementary school, breakfast

Description Students walk, skip, and hop around the classroom suggesting colorful healthy breakfast foods when they stop on the colored spots.
Objective Students will recognize the importance of eating a variety of foods for breakfast.
Materials 5 to 10 sheets each of red, green, and brown construction paper and one to two sheets each of orange, yellow, and blue or purple construction paper for a total of one sheet per student
  1. Spread the construction papers out on the floor around the room.
  2. Have the class form a big circle and ask a few students to name their favorite healthy breakfast food.
  3. Say, "Even though you might love, love, love that food, if you ate it all day long every day it wouldn’t taste good anymore. That’s our body’s way of saying we need lots of different kinds of foods, also called a variety of foods, to be healthy. Each food does something very special and very different for our bodies."
  4. Tell the students you are going to play "Eat the Rainbow!" Explain that each piece of colored paper represents all healthy foods of that color.
  5. Ask the class, "What would a rainbow be without purple?" Say, "It wouldn’t be a rainbow anymore because we need all the colors to make the rainbow!"
  6. On your signal, they should all move around the room using the movement you name (walk, hop, skip, etc). When you say "BREAKFAST," they should move to the nearest open sheet of paper and stand next to it. There should be one student per paper.
  7. Then ask all the students who are standing near a red sheet to name a healthy red food they can eat for breakfast.
  8. Have the students move again, and this time when you say "BREAKFAST," ask the students who are standing near an orange sheet to name orange foods.
  9. Continue until you have gone through all the colors.

Activity Note

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

Background information

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 choice)
  •  meats, beans, nuts

For this age group, it is more effective to encourage variety through color, rather than food grouping.

Healthy ("Go") Colorful Breakfast Foods:

  •  Red--apples, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes
  •  Brown--whole grain (wheat, rye) toast and cereal, chicken or turkey sausage, potatoes (without butter)
  •  Orange--oranges, peaches
  •  Yellow--bananas, pineapples, eggs
  •  Green--broccoli and spinach (in an omelet), cucumber (with cream cheese on a bagel)
  •  Blue or purple--blueberries, plums, grapes