Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

Snack Attack: Part 5 of the Healthy Kids Challenge Way to Teach MyPlate to Kids

Snack Attack is one of the HKC Healthy6 messages, and matches up with MyPlate key messages teaching kids to compare sodium, sugar and fat in foods and choose foods with lower numbers. Teach Snack Attack to kids using this lesson titled A Balanced Day. Utilize MyPlate and trail mix to help kids hear, see, and practice the lesson.

A Balanced Day (Lesson 10: Grades 3-5, Balance My DayTM)

Outcomes: HECAT Standards 5.3, 6.1, 6.3, 7.12

Materials: Trail mix ingredients and supplies, 5 sets of juggling scarves in MyPlate food group colors or labeled paper plates

*You have the option of using trail mix ingredient packaging for label reading, with or without creating an actual trail mix for tasting. If tasting is incorporated, check for food allergies in advance.

  1. For each ingredient, ask kids to guess the food group.
    1. Ask which food groups are missing. (Unless pumpkin seeds or dried tomatoes are used, the answers will be Milk and Vegetable).
    2. Ask them to identify which ingredient doesn’t belong in any food group and why. (M&M’s® have “energy in” and no healthy nutrients.)
    3. Ask kids to guess the correct serving sizes for ingredients. Measure the correct serving and an incorrect serving for each of the foods below. Place each food in a clear plastic cup and label appropriately and ask participants to guess the correct serving.   --OR--  Have the participant scoop out what theey think is the correct serving from a “bowl of food” and then use a measuring cup to see how close they really are.
  2. Using Nutrition Facts labels from trail mix ingredients, ask kids to:
    1. Rank order the foods from most to least amount of fat per serving, with the highest fat food on the far right.
    2. Now rank order the foods from the most to the least amount of sugar per serving, with the food with the most sugar on the far right.
    3. Repeat for the amounts of sodium from most to least.
    4. Option: Use sugar cubes or teaspoons of fat (margarine pats) to demonstrate the actual amount of sugar or fat in each serving. 1 sugar cube = 4 grams sugar; 1 tsp. fat = 4 grams fat.
    5. Ask kids, in building a trail mix with MyPlate portions, to identify which foods are in greatest amount, and those in the smallest amount. Have kids make a trail mix snack with the foods on the table, keeping balance according to MyPlate (proper portions).

Note: Remember handwashing and food safety.

Supplies for Snack Attack Trail Mix For 25 servings Scoop size
Cheerios® (9 cups per 9 oz.)  1 - 9 oz. box 1/4 cup
Wheat Chex® (6.75 cups per 14 oz.) 1 - 14 oz. box 1/4 cup
Pretzels, mini (10.5 cups per 15 oz.) 1 - 15 oz. box 1/4 cup
Craisins® or raisins (3.75 cups per 24 oz.) 1 - 12 oz. box 1 Tbsp.
Dry roasted peanuts or soy nuts (3 cups per 16 oz.) 1 - 16 oz. jar 1 Tbsp.
M&M’s® (approx. 21 servings per 12.6 oz.) 1 - 12 oz. bag 1 Tbsp.
Disposable cups or baggies to hold approx. 1 1/4 cup 25  

Option: Add sundried tomato bits or pumpkin seeds to represent veggie food group (2 cups per 25 servings). Use a Tbsp. for a serving size    

Note: Students with peanut allergies will not be able to have either peanuts or M&M’s® . Consider soy nuts and only approved candies.

Move and Learn

  1. Group kids in 5 straight lines of equal numbers. Have each group form the spokes of a circle, at least 1 1/2 arm lengths apart.
  2. To the first person in each line, give 5 scarves (or paper plates) of the same MyPlate color group. (There will be orange, green, red, blue, and purple lines.) Ask each team to identify one healthy snack food from their color group.
  3. Ask the first student in line to begin passing the scarves, alternating turning from right to left, to the student behind them. The last student in line will collect all the scarves and begin the same activity, in reverse order, from back to front.
  4. When all the scarves reach the front of the line, let kids know they will begin building their MyPlate. They are to pass one of their scarves to the first person in the line to their right. Now each group will have 1 scarf of another color.
  5. Repeat the up and down the line activity described in #3.
  6. As described in #4, when all the scarves reach the front of the line, pass one scarf from their original color group to the next line. After 5 times, all 5 groups will have a set of all 5 major MyPlate color groups.


For plenty of energy, a healthy heart and body, and to feel and look the best you can, make healthy eating choices and balance them with Active Play every day.

Balance My Day nutrition education

These are just sample parts of Lesson 10 - the sample lesson activity and the Move and Learn activity are from p. 173 in grades 3-5 Balance My Day Nutrition Education Curriculum. The worksheet, teacher resource, student assessment, discussion points and questions, and answer key are available for your review, along with school nutrition services and Taste and Learn activities supporting this lesson. Learn more on the Balance My Day Nutrition Education Curriculum page, or contact us with questions.