Dinner Train Dinner #1


Description: Students move through the classroom as a "dinner train,” speeding up when someone calls out a healthy dinner food to fuel the body.
Objective: Students will identify a variety of healthy dinner foods.


  1. Have the students stand in a single file line behind you.
  2. Say, "We were already a ‘breakfast train’. Now, let’s pretend to be a ‘dinner train.’" Remind them what trains run on (fuel).
  3. Next, remind them what people run on (food). Explain that food is fuel for our bodies. We need food so we have energy to learn and play. Tell them eating healthy dinner foods is important because they refuel our bodies with energy spent during the day.
  4. Then, remind them it is important to eat different kinds of foods and drinks like fruits, vegetables, pasta, and milk, and this is called eating a variety of foods. Tell them each type of food does something different and special for our bodies.
  5. Ask the students for some examples of healthy dinner foods (see below for healthy dinner food ideas).
  6. Tell the students to silently choose which healthy dinner food they are on the dinner train.
  7. Next, say to the students "Chew, chew, here we go!"
  8. Begin to jog slowly around the playing space in your single file line. Explain that you are going to "fuel up" with different dinner foods.
  9. Each time someone names a healthy dinner food, the train should speed up and each time someone names a "not so healthy" food high in added sugar or fat, the train should slow down. When that happens, they can even beg for someone to name a healthy food so they can go faster.
  10. If possible, encourage the students not to repeat foods and to make "fueling up" noises as they move.

Background Information

Eating dinner is important because it refuels the body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best. Dinner is also a social event, and it can be quality time spent with family members. Frequent family meals are associated with better grades, a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using marijuana, and a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts.

"Go" foods refer to nutritious foods which give the body the energy to go and grow. "Slow" foods refer to foods high in fat and added sugar which can slow the body down.

Healthy ("Go") Dinner Foods and Drinks:

asparagus baked potatoes
avocado steamed broccoli
brown rice steamed cauliflower
black beans grilled chicken
carrot sticks grilled turkey
corn grilled tuna
green beans grilled salmon
mushrooms low-fat macaroni and cheese
snap peas low-fat milk
salads whole-grain (brown) noodles
tofu low-fat vegetable pizza
watermelon turkey sausage
yogurt corn or whole wheat tortillas
zucchini vegetable burgers

Less Healthy ("Slow") Dinner Foods and Drinks:

refried beans fried chicken
hamburgers General Tso’s chicken
bacon french fries
creamy soups fried fish sticks
soft drinks high fat pepperoni pizza
cookies sweet & sour chicken
hot dogs

Related National Standards

NHES: 1.2.1, 7.2.1
NS: NS.K-4.6
NSPE: 1, 5

Further information about the National Standards can be found here