Sample Games to Develop Good Nutrition


1.  BEST EATER - During a selected day, everyone records what he or she eats on a True Health Food Pyramid.  Players share eating lists and discuss how they did.

2.  PAPER PLATE PICTURES - Players draw pictures of nutritious meals on paper plates. Players try to guess what the others have drawn.
3.  MEALMATES - Include your children in planning meals.  Have them consider taste, looks, nutrition, and cost.  Also, get them involved in cooking and making the table attractive.

- Pick a food group on a True Health Pyramid.  Two players take turns naming a food within that group.  The first player unable to name a new, additional food, or names a food not in the selected group, loses.  The winner faces another challenger who has the right to select the food group in play.
5.  ESTIMATE AND CALCULATE - This is a good game to play each time you go grocery shopping.  It will encourage an understanding of the cost of various foods.  Before checkout, each player estimates what the total cost will be.  Player with the closest estimate wins.

- Players take turns trying to act out (without talking) the food they are thinking of.  Other players try to guess.  The game can also be played by teams.
7.  FAVORITE MEALS - Take turns discussing favorite menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Meals must be balanced as well as tasty.  During the next week, players try one or more of the suggested meals.

- Divide a scrapbook into sections according to the True Health Pyramid.  Have each player paste in or draw pictures of his favorite foods in each category.  Better yet, have everyone in the family put his or her favorite foods in the scrapbook.  Use the scrapbook as a reference when planning meals.
9.  TOUCH IT - Two players look though magazines or newspapers.  First player to touch a picture of a food wins it.  The first player to win a food item from a food group wins that category. Player winning the most categories wins the game.

- Take turns naming as many foods within a selected food group as you can in 60 seconds.  See who can name the most, or players could try to beat their previous highest scores.  Repeat the challenge several times.  Encourage discussion of the various foods and their qualities of taste and nutrition.
11.  REFERENCE MEALS RECIPE BOOK - Examples of adequate diets are useful as guideposts.  Players work out a menu for one entire day in which each essential nutrient's recommended daily allowance will be reached.  This could be done several times and used as a measure of what excellent eating habits are all about.

- The recommended daily allowance of a nutrient (such as calcium) is posted.  Each player privately writes a list of food he thinks is high in that nutrient.  Players then refer to a table of food composition.  The amount of the nutrient contained in each average serving in each item is added until it totals the RDA for that nutrient.  The calories of the food items are also added.  The player reaching the RDA with the fewest calories wins.
13.  NUTRITIONAL DUEL - Players study a food composition chart for a few minutes before playing the game.  Select a nutrient, such as Vitamin D.  Also select a paragraph in a book or newspaper.  Without looking back at the food chart, each player writes the name of a food for the starting letter of each word in the first sentence.  Another nutrient is chosen for the second sentence.  A new nutrient is selected for each sentence until the paragraph is finished.  The players then together look up and compare the foods they have chosen.  Each food choice for each word is engaged in a duel.  A player wins a point for each duel he wins in the sentence.  Player winning the most points in the sentence wins the sentence.  Player winning the most sentences wins the game.  Any disagreement as to whether one food is a better source of a nutrient than another is decided by dividing the amount of the nutrient in an average serving of the food item into the number of calories in an average serving.  This determines its calorie-to-nutrient ratio.  For example, the fewest calories to a gram of obtained protein would win.

- Take time as a group to go through cookbooks and discuss the appeal of various recipes.  When one or more seem particularly appealing, plan when you are going to try them.
15.  UPGRADED FOOD SHOPPING LISTS - Discuss how the families eating habits could be improved. As you prepare your grocery shopping list, write improved food choices.

- Use a deck of regular playing cards.  Each suit represents a different nutrient, but it is not necessary to identify the nutrients.  Jacks and Queens in each suit represent STOPS.  They stand for reasons why we might not eat an adequate amount of particular nutrients.  Reasons could be: 

Too hurried to eat right.  (Jack or Queen of Hearts)
Ignorance.  (Jack or Queen of Diamonds)
Poor Habits.  (Jack or Queen of Clubs)
Cost.  (Jack or Queen of Spades)

The Kings and Aces in each suit represent remedies, or what puts us nutritionally on GO.  They solve the problems represented as STOPS: 

Taking time to prepare and eat proper foods. (King or Ace of Hearts)
Information.  (King or Ace of Diamonds)
Extra concentration to develop good habits. (King or Ace of Clubs)Economical shopping.  (King or Ace of Spades)

Each player plays through the entire deck before the next player takes a turn.  Player starts placing cards from the top of the shuffled deck in columns according to their suit, and scores the number of points indicated by the cards.  The object of the game is to score the highest total points.  However, if a STOP card turns up (Jack or Queen), no further cards may be placed in that suit column until a GO card (King or Ace) in that suit shows up.  Until one does, the point cards for that suit are placed in a waste pile to the side and are not used in that round.  GO cards that turn up before they are needed may be saved and used to counter the appropriate STOP card when it does show up.  When all cards have been played, the player totals his points for all four suits and writes it down.  The next player then has his turn.  After several rounds, the player having the most accumulated points wins the game.  The game could be played solitaire by challenging yourself to beat your previous highest score.

17.  SQUARES - This is a fun strategy game that can also give players a better idea of the meaning of percentages.  First, make eleven rows of eleven dots parallel to each other, and with equal distances between the dots.  Players take turns drawing straight lines, either vertically or horizontally, connecting two or more dots.  Whenever it is possible to connect two dots to make a small square, the player doing so claims it by writing his initial in the box.  He continues connecting dots in the same way, claiming squares until a line he draws does not make a square.  It then becomes the other player's turn.  The game is over when all 100 squares have been formed and claimed.  Player having the most squares claimed out of the 100 possible wins.  His score, of course, is also his percentage.  If he claims 55 out of the 100 squares, he claims 55%.  To further illustrate the concept, have one of the players shade his squares.

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- Help players acquire a taste for a variety of good, nutritious foods.  Research indicates that given the right opportunities, people will appreciate and enjoy the foods that are good for them.
19.  FOOD TWENTY-QUESTIONS - One player thinks of a food and either identifies the basic food group to which it belongs or a nutrient in which it is especially high.  The other players try to guess the food by asking questions that can be answered yes or no.  The group wins if they can identify it before 20 questions are used up.

- When you invite friends or extended family over for dinner, ask about their favorite, nutritious foods.  Include some of those foods in your dinner.  It will give your extended family and friends a feeling of being special, and it gives you and your family an opportunity to experience a variety of foods and tastes.
21.  BALANCED FOUR IN A ROW - Use a checkerboard and checkers.  Divide the checkers into four groups.  Each group is to represent one of the four basic food groups.

Milk and Milk Products
Meat, Fish, Poultry, and Eggs
Fruits and Vegetables
Breads and Cereals 

For each checker in a group, write the name of a different, representative food.  Tape these to the tops of the checkers.  Players take turns putting a checker on one of the squares on the board.  A player wins by establishing a line of four checkers in any direction containing all four basic food groups.

- Look through magazines for food advertisements and discuss their appeal.  Use some of the ideas to make your own mealtimes or snacks more appealing.

23.  NUTRITION BULLETIN BOARDS - Set up a bulletin board in the kitchen on which to highlight nutritious foods and well-being.  Each week select a thought, theme, food, or nutrient to bring to the family's attention.  For example:





Players could add suggestions, ideas, articles, and pictures to the board during the week.  Use the board to stimulate discussions.