Nutrition Education Stations

Nutrition Education Stations

FROM: Laura Collaro & Kathy Alexander | Addison Northeast Supervisory Union Food Service Cooperative, Bristol, VT

TIME: 1 hour lesson + 1-2 hours prep

CATEGORIES: Classroom, Cafeteria, Farms + Gardens, Local Purchasing, Projects + Activities, Curriculum

Nutrition Education Stations engage students in integrated, hands-on nutrition discovery. For each nutrition education topic (i.e. whole grains, phytochemicals), students rotate in small groups through stations offering a game, an art activity, and a cooking activity. At the end, taste tests help students share learning and inform the school meal program.


  • 50 - 60 minutes of classroom time.
  • 1 teacher and 2 assistants (parent volunteer, food service staff, wellness teacher)
  • 1 focal food item, nutrient, or group of foods (i.e. cabbage, squash family, vitamin A)
  • 1 cooking activity related to the focal topic, including 3 different recipes
  • 1 tray or bus tub with all cooking ingredients and tools for the recipe
  • 1 game related to the focal topic (i.e. Wheel of Nutrition, Nutrition Jeopardy, Vegetable Bingo, Fruit Concentration)
  • 1 art or literacy activity related to the focal topic (i.e. watercolor still life, clay modeling, fruit and veggie block printing, crossword puzzle, word search, poetry or haiku)
  • Large paper or board for recording taste test votes and capturing student learning at the end of the lesson
  • Plates and napkins for tasting


STEP 1: PLAN YOUR STATIONS. Choose a focal food group or item and identify three 15-minute activity stations to correspond. Identify a cooking activity and three separate recipes to go along with the food. Choose or create a game related to the topic, and an art or literacy activity. Make lists of all ingredients, tools and supplies you will need for the three stations. Find volunteers or staff to help run each station.

STEP 2: SET UP. Set up three stations in the learning space, with all materials and supplies ready for students. Take extra care to have separate organized supplies ready for each group of rotating students, since there is no time between groups to set up again.

  • Station 1: Cooking. Each group of students will prepare tasting samples of a different recipe; plan enough food in each recipe that all students can taste all three recipes at the end. Purchase ingredients ahead of time or use what you can from school gardens. Use a tray or bus tub to organize all ingredients and tools for each recipe.
  • Station 2: Games. The game should include nutritional information, agricultural information, and references to relevant units of study such as social studies and science.
  • Station 3: Art & Literacy. Prepare materials as needed, such as crayons, paints, paper, coloring pages, or other written materials such as crossword puzzles, word find or decoding games. During the activity, the teacher will talk to students about the focal topic; discussion might include the agricultural history of the food, cultural significance, deeper information on nutrition, or connections to other aspects of the curriculum. 

STEP 3: INTRODUCE THE TOPIC. Give students a 5-minute introduction. Ask them what they already know about the focal ingredient and whether they have ever tried it. Share a general overview of key nutrition information related to the topic.
STEP 4: STATION TIME! Divide students into three groups and assign groups to each station.  Run each station for 15 minutes, with teachers or volunteers helping students to complete the assigned tasks. Rotate students through each station when time is up.

STEP 5: TASTE AND TALK. Convene the class for the taste test and wrap up discussion.  Ask students to try each of the three recipes and vote for which they liked the best.  Record their votes on the large piece of paper.  Ask each student to report one thing she or he learned. Write these on a large sheet of paper to post in the cafeteria.

STEP 6: KEEP IT GOING. Use any remaining food for a cafeteria taste test during lunch and continue the opinion poll in the cafeteria. Prepare the recipe with the most votes for lunch during the week (the next day is best). Post learning, taste test results, and artwork or writing in the cafeteria.


  • Nutrition Education is offered to students in the classroom setting and aligned with curriculum and other skill development
  • Students learn important health and nutrition information to inform their own food choices
  • Students make connections to the school cafeteria and school meals through taste tests
  • Students learn the cultural and agricultural significance of the food they have prepared
  • Students learn in a variety of ways using different activities to reinforce information
  • Students report on their own learning
  • Student prepare new foods and learn that foods can be prepared and enjoyed in a variety of ways
  • Students try new foods through involvement in preparation, building ownership and trust in the food choices that are offered to them in the school meals program
  • Students have a voice in their school meals programs


This Nutrition Education Stations model is easily adapted with activities at each station that are appropriate for different age groups and that incorporate components of other curriculum topics. Stations could be created with physical activities, math or science lessons, or other topics.


About Farm to School Recipes for Success

From garden parties to cooking contests, farm visits to STEM lessons, farm to school programs all over the Northeast are sizzling! The Farm to School Recipes for Success contest features the top ten best projects, activities, lessons and ideas chosen from dozens of “recipes” submitted by schools and programs in advance of the 2015 Farm to Institution Summit on April 7-9. This contest is sponsored by the Northeast Regional Steering Committee of the National Farm to School Network and is funded by a USDA Farm to School grant with support from the National Education Association. Visit to learn more.