This kid nutrition activity combines learning about nutrition and physical fitness. Children who are well nourished and physically fit learn more in school. Using the five food groups, kids will learn how much of each food group they need each day, how to recognize what foods belongs to each group, and plan a sample menu.
With the technical age of computers, video games and television, there is concern that children are not getting enough physical fitness in their day. Encourage children to participate in movement games, sports, dance and exercise at least one hour each day.
First, review the five food groups with kids. Discuss their favorite food and what group this food belongs in. For example, if a child’s favorite food is pizza, ask them what food groups pizza belongs to. The five food groups and servings for kids ages 2-11 are:
- Milk: 2-3 cups
- Fruits: 1-2 cups
- Vegetables: 1-2 ½ cups
- Grains: 3-6 ounces
- Meats & Beans: 2-5 ½ ounces
The serving size varies according to the age of the child. One slice of bread is one serving. Three ounces of meat is approximately the size of a “deck of cards”.
Next, have them plan a sample menu for one meal. Younger children can cut out pictures from a magazine and glue into sections on a paper plate. Older children can write out a sample menu on paper. For example, have kids plan a nutritious lunch they might want to take to school.
Finally, play a food group relay game. Make five signs, each labeled with a food group in large letters. Glue on several pictures of food from each group. Using 3″ x 5″ index card, put one food item on one card. Make lots of cards. For younger children, paste a picture of a food on each card.
To play the game, divide the kids into teams (no more than four teams is recommended). You need five volunteers to hold the food group signs. Have them stand a distance away from the teams, facing the teams and holding the signs up. Place a basket or bucket at their feet. Another volunteer will have a bag of food (index cards), and the first child in line will draw a food card.
When you say “go” or blow a whistle, the first child of each team runs to the correct food group, shows the sign holder to verify they are correct, and places their food card into the basket. They will run back to their team and go to the end of the line. The next player in line will draw a card and continue the relay. In this relay game everyone is a winner!