Lesson Plan #: AELP-NUT0014
Brian F. Geiger, EdD
School or Affiliation: University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education A. Sandra Willis, PhD
School or Affiliation: Samford University
Date: May 1998
Grade Level(s): Preschool Education, Kindergarten, 1,2
Brief Description of the Lesson:
Unhealthy foods are frequently advertised to children. Parents and teachers desire to encourage children to choose healthy alternatives to snack foods containing high sugar and fat content. Students in early elementary grades can learn about nutrition through story-telling, songs, and a familiar hunting game.
Intended Grade Level of the Audience:
Pre-K to 2nd Grade
Background Information for the Teacher:
This lesson was designed for a 60-minute period; it was field-tested with first and second graders in a Birmingham-area church school.
Concepts Covered in this Lesson:
Identification of healthy foods for daily meals and snacks, basic reading and communication skills
Materials or Equipment List:
1. Teacher resource textbook, e.g.,Comprehensive School Health Education: Second Edition by Linda Meeks, Philip Heit, & Randy Page (1996), Meeks Heit Publishing Co., or pamphlet or videotape on nutrition education.
2. Children’s book about foods and eating, e.g., My Eating Book by Jane Gelbard and Betsy Bober Polivy (1989), Grosset & Dunlap, or Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
3. 3-4 dozen hollow plastic Easter eggs.
4. 3-4 dozen small slips of paper.
5. Photographic, magazine, or clip art illustrations of foods.
6. Crayons and markers.
7. Small paper lunch bags.
8. Glue or tape.
9. Healthy Foods Songsheet;.
10. A healthy snack food, e.g., juice or milk, apples, raisins, or carrots.
11. Coloring sheets featuring healthy and unhealthy food choices.
12. Healthy Foods Song (sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down). Prepare as a large-print songsheet to be taken home to parent-guardian.
Healthy foods are good for me, good for me, good for me.
Healthy foods are good for me, each and every day.
1. Review teacher resource material on nutrition education obtained from the library, county health department, extension agent, or pediatrician.
2. Adapt content by selecting key messages to write on small pieces of paper. Sample messages include:
I can eat 5 fruits and vegetables each day!
Crunchy foods like carrots and celery build healthy teeth.
Milk helps me to grow tall and strong!
It is fun to take care of myself by eating healthy foods.
3. Insert these printed messages into plastic Easter eggs as fortunes hidden inside of fortune cookies. Hide the filled eggs around the classroom, or outside in the school yard.
4. Prior to class, select an early elementary book that emphasizes healthy eating habits to read aloud at the beginning of the lesson. Begin class by introducing the topic of nutrition and good health. Read the children’s book aloud, including key messages about healthy foods.
5. Provide students with paper lunch bags, crayons, markers, glue or tape, and illustrations of healthy foods. Include a variety of foods, those that are familiar to most children, e.g., bananas, strawberries, bread, chicken, and less common foods, e.g., kale, kiwi, fish filet. Omit foods with high sugar and fat content, e.g., frosted cereals, potato chips, bacon. Invite students to decorate their paper bags using hand-made drawings and illustrations of healthy foods they would like to eat.
6. Sing the Healthy Foods Song while boys and girls seek and find the hidden eggs with surprise messages. Direct students to return to an assigned starting point when time is called. Students will open their eggs and remove the nutrition message. Read aloud messages while serving a healthy snack of water, milk, or fruit juice and sliced vegetables or fruits to reinforce the concepts covered in this lesson. Distribute the Healthy Foods Songsheet and sing together with students. Encourage students to bring the plastic eggs, nutrition facts, lunch bags, and songsheet home to share with parents or guardians and siblings.
(optional) Devise a coloring sheet for students to complete with adult supervision featuring paired selections of healthy and unhealthy foods, (e.g. baked chicken versus fried chicken).
Assist students to consider choices and circle only healthy foods. This activity could be completed at home together with parents or guardians.