In this game, students will speed up or slow down their movements in response to the healthiness of the food named.
Students will distinguish between "energy" ("go"/healthy) and "empty" ("slow"/less healthy) lunch foods.
- Gather the students into a circle around you.
- Quickly explain or review what makes a food an "energy" food vs. an "empty" food. ("Energy" foods are high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, which provide energy for the body and mind to focus on schoolwork and perform well in sports and activities. "Empty" foods are high in fat and added sugar, which provide a burst of energy, but the energy is burned off quickly leaving people more tired and hungry afterwards. Eating a lot of "empty" foods can lead to long-term health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.)
- Explain that you will list some lunch foods (select examples of "energy" and "empty" foods from the list below) and ask the students to call out "energy" or "empty" for each one.
- Once they have correctly identified some foods, tell them you are going to play another game about "energy" foods and "empty" foods called "'Energy' or 'Empty'?"
- Tell them you are going to name lunch foods.
- If a food is an "energy" lunch food, they should jog (or skip or hop) in a circle. If a food is an "empty" lunch food, they should walk in a circle.
- Demonstrate the movements, then start the game with an "energy" food.
- Have the students perform each action for 10-15 seconds before you name a new food.
- If you wish to challenge the group further and keep them on their toes, pick up the pace as you switch between "energy" and "empty" foods.
- If time permits, review some foods and their "energy" or "empty" classifications with the class.
Although all foods can fit into a healthy eating plan in moderation, it is important to reinforce that healthier foods give the body more energy to run, grow, and think. "Junk foods," (processed foods high in fat and added sugar), contain a lot of calories and very few nutrients. Those calories donít provide the body with much energy and are converted to fat by the body, as opposed to the calories in nutrient-packed foods, which provide lots of energy and are easier for the body to burn.
It is important to connect kids with their food and get them thinking about food less in terms of "good" and "gross" and more in terms of "healthy" and "less healthy" (or "energy" and "empty"). For the younger grades, we refer to "energy" foods as "go" foods and "empty" foods as "slow" foods. Older children may be more likely to make healthy choices if they understand why, specifically, these foods are beneficial for them.
Healthy ("Energy"/"Go") Lunch Foods and Drinks:
||whole grain pasta
||low-fat string cheese
|100% fruit juice
Less Healthy ("Empty"/"Slow") Lunch Foods and Drinks:
||fried fish sticks
Related National Standards
||1.8.1, 1.8.2, 1.8.7, 5.8.6, 7.8.1, 7.8.2
||1, 2, 5
Further information about the National Standards can be found here