What activities can you suggest for the national celebration of nutrition month?

National Nutrition Month celebrations can be made interesting for a variety of age groups. As examples:

1. For young grade school children, split the class into 3 groups, 1 for breakfast, 1 for lunch, 1 for dinner. Present types of nutritious foods, with a picture of each one. Have children identify 3 foods that would go together to make a nutritious meal. Buy plain paper placemats and have each child draw his/her plate and each of the 3 foods they picked.

2. Have a "packed lunch" day where the kids are to bring a nutritious bagged lunch. They can use their placemats when eating their meal.

3. Use the food pyramid to design a game of "nutrition trades". Give parts of each class different foods from each food group. Set a half-hour for children to trade 1 food for 1 food someone else has, in order to make a nutritious meal.

4. Set up a "store" in the classroom of nutritious foods or pictures of them. Assign each food a real price as seen in a store today. Give every child play money to "buy" the items they need to make 1 meal.

5. Set up an area of the classroom for each food group. Have kids make a picture of a food on a small poster. Every food group should be drawn. Then, turn the pile of posters face down and give randomly back to students. Then tell the kids they have 20 minutes to move, with the poster, to the correct food group area. When all the kids have moved, if someone is wrong, discuss that and move to the right group. Then, finish with "food group photos" with the kids holding the posters under the food group sign.

6. Have a pizza day and explain why a pizza meets many food groups at once.

For teens and parents

1. Ask if parents could donate several unusual non-perishable foods that fit certain food groups. Have a food fair at lunchtime where kids can buy a sample.

2. Ask students to plan meals for a homeless shelter. Go to the shelter to work with the staff to plan the meals. Follow through with the teens helping to serve the meal they planned.

3. Have students design a nutrition "campaign" with a 3-minute "speech". The speech should describe a way that more people can plan nutrition into each day (or some specific topic).

4. Have older teens work with the cafeteria staff in the grade school, split into teams over the month. Based on this experience, they will write an essay on what school cafeterias do to provide healthy lunches.

5. Have older teens visit a grade school class to be a "Big Apple" to a young student. The older teens will be responsible to help their child design a poster or costume that depicts a food, or one of the rules about nutrition.