Healthy eating and physical activity solutions for kids

2011-2012 Classroom Ideas

Stirring Up Health recipe contest for 7th and 8th graders

Stirring Up Health™ Recipe Contest
10th Year Celebration Classroom Connections




 Star“Stir up” healthy discussions with kids using the following talking points:           


  • Explore the MyPlate food groups and how they guide healthy eating.
  • Focus on healthy choices rather than weight.
  • Help kids recognize all foods fit with healthy balance of eating and physical activity decisions. Role-model those behaviors with the kids.
  • Use HKC’s "Healthy6" - 6 Simple Healthy Habit Building Messages:
    • Fruits & Veggies - Every Day the Tasty Way -- More matters, so encourage kids to eat more fruits and veggies daily.
    • Snack Attack -- Choose foods with added sugar and fat less often or in smaller amounts.
    • Active Play, Balance My Day -- Encourage kids to choose physical activities they LIKE to do. Engage in at least 60 minutes of active movement most every day!
    • Breakfast GO Power-- Eat breakfast to THINK-LEARN-GROW-PLAY
    • Smart Servings -- Recognize how sometimes it is not WHAT but HOW MUCH.
    • Drink Think -- Choose water and 3- A -Day of low fat milk.

StarLearning Ideas for Teacher, Home Schools, Youth Leaders or Family!

The recipe contest is a perfect opportunity to:

  • Begin to talk with kids about healthy balance using the talking points above.
  • Apply math skills, reading, basic kitchen skills, advocacy, goal setting, and meet health education standards for knowledge and application of MyPlate!
  • Offer kids a fun and creative hands-on experience in the kitchen!

Here are a few ideas to enhance the learning experience!  Be creative with ideas of your own! 

  • MyPlate Food Groups - Have students review the MyPlate food groups. Discuss different recipe ideas for the contest categories. Discuss how a variety of foods encourages a healthy balance of nutrients, tastes, colors and textures. Ask how the MyPlate icon encourages healthy eating.
  • Fruits & Veggies: Every Day the Tasty Way - The MyPlate icon suggests filling half your plate with healthy fruits and veggies! Discuss how to find ways to eat more fruits and veggies during the day; such as sliced fruits in breakfast cereal, salad at lunch, raw veggies and low fat dip as a snack, several veggie dishes at dinner and fruit as dessert.
  • Creative Recipe Additions - Kids may be unfamiliar with using fruit and veggie sauces or relishes with main dishes. Have kids experiment with the flavors of a sweet mango or peach relish on a slice of deli turkey, or a spicy tomato relish on a slice of lean deli chicken.
  • Label Reading - Using packaged food products, review both the Nutrition Facts and ingredient labels. Look for "whole grain" listed in the ingredient label. In the Nutrition Facts label identify the amount of fiber and discuss how fiber comes from grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Identify fat and sugar on the label. Use visuals to represent the amount of fat and sugar in one serving. Note: 1 tsp. fat or sugar (1 sugar cube) is equivalent to 4 grams.
  • Ingredient Substitutions - Talk about how to use lower fat/sugar/salt substitutions in recipes. Substitute whole milk dairy products with low fat, such as low fat cheese, yogurt or sour cream. Experiment by cutting the sugar in a baked recipe by 1/4.
  • Math Skills - Practice adjusting recipe ingredients for varying numbers of servings. Hand out fun sample situations for your class to practice, such as how to adjust the ingredients of a 6 serving party smoothie recipe for 15 kids or how to adjust a 6 serving snack recipe for you and a friend (2 servings).


  • Home Baking Association educator tools
    • Check lists and tip sheets
    • Recipes
    • Book and Bake ideas for older kids to read children's books and demonstrate recipes to younger kids
    • Much more
  • Fightbac Talk about food safety and proper hand washing procedures. Have kids research recommendations for safe food temperatures and food handling practices.
  • Review 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Discuss the key recommendations. Have kids choose one of the key recommendations and determine one change they could make in their typical day to improve on it.
  • Talk about MyPlate food groups and explore the variety of foods! Use the site to discuss healthy eating tips, suggested serving sizes of foods and planning a healthy menu. 
  • Fruits and Veggies: More Matters  Discuss the recommendation of 5-9 daily servings in a "rainbow of colors". Explore the different fruit and veggie choices available.