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Healthy Eating, Healthy Living



Grade Levels: 2-3
This activity would be most effective if delivered in three (3) separate 40-50 minute periods.

Group leader should watch the videos listed below, or preview the clips on the Web (see below). Before beginning the healthy eating exercise, arrange an area for a fake buffet-style dinner. Before beginning the exercise activity, prepare an area in the room for students to use for exercise routines. Also create paddles by attaching paint sticks to heavy paper plates using hot glue. Title one of piece of chart paper, "What We Know About Healthy Eating," the second "Cristina's Story," the third "A Healthy Balanced Meal," the fourth "Ways We Exercise." Divide the fifth piece into 3 columns labeled: Vegetables, Proteins, and Carbohydrates.

Students will need:
  • Markers
  • Rulers (students can share if necessary)
  • Two paper plates each
  • Glue
  • Paper cutouts of food from vegetable, meat/fish, and carbohydrate groups
  • One pillow for every four students
  • One paddle for every two students (paint stick glued to heavy paper plate)
  • One balloon for every four students
  • One towel for every four students
  • One beach ball for every four students
Group leaders will need:
  • The videos KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY "Overcoming Obesity" and KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY "Health and Fitness with Lynn Swan," or the ability to show the digitized clips on a TV or projector
  • Pencil
  • 5 pieces of chart paper prepared as directed above
  • An easel to display the paper or tape to hang on the walls
  • Marker
Academic Goals:
Children will:
  • understand the psychological benefits of a healthy lifestyle
  • become familiar with the vegetable, protein and carbohydrate food groups
  • learn a healthy way to create a meal
  • appreciate the benefits of exercise
  • learn several indoor exercise games
Social Goals:
Children will:
  • develop their listening skills, allowing peers to speak and share their opinions and work
  • develop their group speaking skills as they share their work and ideas with others
  • have opportunities to play games and interact with partners and in small groups

Activity 1: Cristina's Story

Warm-Up (5 minutes)
Ask students to go around and say their name and a food that they like that starts with the same letter as their name. As they say the food they can position their bodies in the shape of the food. For example: My name is Caroline and I like carrots. (Stand tall with arms extended straight over your head.)

Learning Activities (20 minutes)
  1. Ask students to describe some ways to lead a healthy life. Write down their answers on the piece of chart paper titled "What We Know About Being Healthy." Explain to students that they are going to be learning about healthy eating and exercise.

  2. Explain that now they will watch a short clip from KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY: Overcoming Obesity, which tells the story about a girl named Cristina and how she started to live a healthier life. If you can't show the clip from the Web, cue the video at about one minute and 30 seconds into the episode, to the scene that begins with the words "Here is Cristina's story." End the clip with the words "I'm not depressed anymore and I'm more energetic."

  3. Video Clip

    Cristina's story:
    Overcoming Obesity
    Ask students what they learned about being healthy from Cristina's story. Focus on how Cristina's life changed once she started eating healthy and exercising. Questions include: What did Cristina eat at the beginning? What does she eat now? Was Cristina gaining weight at the beginning? What about now? Did Cristina exercise at the beginning? Does she exercise now? How did Cristina feel when she wasn't eating healthy? How does she feel now? On the chart paper titled "Cristina's Story," create the table below using the students' input.

    What did Cristina eat? Sugary food, rice and beans, fried food Healthy food, nothing fried, carrots
    Was Cristina gaining weight? Yes No, she lost about 57 pounds
    Did Cristina exercise? No, she stayed at home and watched TV Yes
    How did Cristina feel? Lonely, depressed, sad, like she didn't look like everyone else Better! Energetic, not depressed

  4. Ask students: What do we learn from Cristina's story? (Eating healthy and exercising are necessary to lead healthy lives and/or lose weight, etc.)
Activity 2: Healthy Eating

Introduction (15 minutes)

Give one paper plate to each student and distribute the glue and markers, which can be shared. Show students paper cutouts of various foods (vegetable, protein and carbohydrates) and arrange them in a way that children have access to pick and choose (a buffet-style is one way to do this.) Explain that they're going to be creating a fake dinner plate of their favorite foods. Tell them to paste (or draw) their favorite cutout foods onto the plate, in the amounts they would be able to eat if the food was real. When completed, students can share their plates with each other and discuss which food items they chose. Ask students: Do you think the food you chose is healthy? Why or why not? How could you change your plate to make it a healthier meal?

Learning Activities (45 minutes)
    Video Clip
    Fit for Life Discussion

    Creating Healthy Meals Discussion
  1. Explain to students that they will be watching another short clip that suggests a helpful way to create healthy meals. If you can't show the clip from the Web, cue the tape about 22 minutes 46 seconds into the episode, beginning with the words, "If you think about a plate..." End the clip with "healthier for the whole family, whether they're fat or thin."

  2. After viewing the clip ask: How did the woman suggest that you divide your plate when eating? (half the plate should be vegetables)

  3. On the chart paper titled "A Healthy Balanced Meal" draw a large circle. Ask a volunteer to come up and divide the circle in half, using a large ruler and pencil to allow for mistakes. When done, marker over the correct division so that it can be clearly seen by all. Give each student another paper plate, and a ruler. Ask students to divide their plates in half using a marker and ruler. Explain that it doesn't need to be perfect, but as close to half as possible. (Group leader can demonstrate on a paper plate if necessary.)

  4. Ask students: What should half our plate have? (Vegetables) On the same chart paper write the word "vegetables" in one of the halved sections. Ask students to name some of their favorite vegetables. List their responses on the columned chart paper underneath the title "Vegetables." (Examples include: corn, peas, spinach, lettuce, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, string beans, cauliflower, etc.)

  5. Give each table markers and various paper cutouts of vegetables. Ask students to glue one or more of their favorite vegetables to half of their plate. If they don't see their favorite vegetable, they can draw it instead. Tell them the more colorful their plate looks, the healthier it is. Explain that different colored foods contain different vitamins and minerals, and the more of these nutrients you have, the healthier you are.

  6. Explain to students that they've filled half of their dinner plate. Ask what other kinds of food, besides vegetables, do you like to eat for dinner? Start listing their answers in remaining appropriate columns on chart paper. 1) PROTEIN: beans, chicken, hamburgers, steak, shrimp, turkey, sausage, tofu, cheese, etc. 2) CARBOHYDRATES: rice, potatoes, noodles (pasta), bread, etc.

  7. Explain that they need to divide the rest of their plate equally between proteins and carbohydrates. Demonstrate the division on large paper, and ask students to divide their plate using a marker and ruler. Explain that of the plate should be protein and carbohydrates.

  8. Give each table various paper cutouts of protein and carbohydrate examples. Ask students to glue (or draw) their favorite foods in the appropriate sections.

  9. Ask students to compare and contrast the first plate they made with the second. What is different about them? What is the same? Is at least one of your favorite foods on both plates? Which plate is healthier? Why?

Activity 3: Exercise

Learning Activities (40 minutes)

  1. Ask students: Besides eating healthy, what else can we do to be healthy? (Exercise) Exercising is healthy for several reasons. One of them is because sometimes we eat more than we need. If we don't burn off the extra food through exercise, we can become overweight. Also, sometimes we may eat food that has a lot of fat in it, and we need to burn off the fat so that we don't become overweight.

  2. Ask students to share some examples of ways they exercise, both in and outside. Write down answers on chart paper titled "Ways We Exercise." (Playing a sport, playing tag, jump-roping, walking to school, etc.)

  3. Video Clip
    kids in fit for life

    Parent's Fitness with Kids
    Explain to students that they will now see a clip about easy and fun exercises that they can do inside. If you can't show the clip from the Web, cue the tape KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY: HEALTH AND FITNESS about 5 minutes 27 seconds into the episode, beginning with the words "and you can show us what parents should be doing with their kids." End the clip with the words "you want to get them moving around."

  4. Explain that now they will play some of the exercise games that they saw on the video. Divide the children into two groups. In their groups, children take turns playing the games. The children watching can cheer for them. If necessary, first demonstrate each game for the children.

      Pillow toss - children work in pairs.
      1. Chest pass (instruct students to toss faster and faster) 15x
      2. With their backs to each other, pass over head and under legs 15x
      3. Side passes 15x

      Balloons and paddles - in small groups (around four to a group)
        Divide students into groups of around four. Each group forms a circle and using their paddles, tries to keep the balloon off the floor.

      Towel and beach ball game - children work in pairs
        Place the beach ball on the towel. Then, each pair holds the towel by the ends so that it is stretched taut. Children must keep the beach ball in the air by moving the towel up and down.

  5. Questions for discussion: How do you feel after playing these games? Is your heart beating faster? Does anyone feel as though they have more energy now? Do you want to play some of these games at home with an adult or another child? Which game was the best? Can you think of any other games you could play that involve moving?
Wrap-Up (5 minutes)

Children discuss what they have learned. What can we do to be healthy? Why is it important to be healthy? What was your favorite activity? Can you teach someone else what you have learned?


This AFTERSCHOOL EXCHANGE activity is based on the KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY episodes "Overcoming Obesity" and "Health and Fitness with Lynn Swan." It was developed by Marissa Munn, Instructor for the Early Education, Urban Design, and Urban Ecology Departments at Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment. She was formerly the Literacy Specialist at The Point CDC.

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