Help Please: What’s for (healthy) lunch?


I need your help again – I hope it’s OK!

It always pays to go to teachers’ groups and meetings as you pick up so many new ideas.

One very cool idea I picked up from Craig at the ACET meeting this week was to use the question:

What’s for lunch?

in the warm ups.

It’s so obvious, and has been a huge request,  but I’d never figured out the right English phrase till he mentioned it.  Thanks Craig!

And I think this *might* become a new food theme to go before the regular food lesson.

So here’s the question:

What 3 (just 3!) (healthy and cool!) foods should I include as the answers to “What’s for lunch today?”

But …… do remember that anyone can write a long list,  it’s narrowing it down to just your students’ top 3 that I need the help with! 🙂

So what would your top 3 requests be for vocab to add to this lesson?

It can be new vocab, or vocab from the existing food lesson, I’m cool with either.

Do let me in the comments and you never know it might turn into a new song for you! (Actually I’ve got a few music ideas already!)

( Update:  Here’s a VIP mp3 demo of one idea music I’m thinking of! )

As always, thank you so much in advance, I know how awesome you all are! 🙂

Be genki,


P.S.  All the comments you make will get counted towards the blog prize competition.  Vol. 14 *might* be starting to form if we get this sorted! Hint Hint. 🙂

P.P.S.   I originally put this on Facebook and the first answer was “pizza, pasta & ice cream.”  🙂   So I want to make it cool foods that are good for you.  With the songs, the pictures and the games we have a huge power to frame how kids think about things, so I think we should use the power for some good (like we did with the Superhero Vegetables).  Don’t you agree?

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

27 Responses to “Help Please: What’s for (healthy) lunch?”

  1. gumby

    GREAT IDEA! I love this idea and food is always a big hit with students.

    I thought you could use menu items of more than one word:

    fresh fruit,
    vegetable soup,
    chicken salad

    Better yet you could use food items from different countries:
    noodles, cornmeal, seafood
    (these are just generic ideas that represent what might be the most common foods in different areas)

    Margit and Camilla have done a wonderful, wondeful exchange of videos including a cooking one. this would be so fun to do. It would be different around the world, but also within the same country.

    It would be great to have a GE treasure trove of cooking videos!

    What do you think?

    Margit also has a weather one on her blog. This is similar to what you wrote about in a previous blog post. Super easy to do and students could get motivated to learn and share!

  2. Trevor

    Yeh, I do the same as Craig, so this is a good idea. Mine 3 would be milk, rice and bread. The main reason is that they have these almost every day. The other reason being that they miss-pronounce milk and rice, so they are good ones to practice pronouncing. Students often think that “pan” (the Japanese word for bread) is English, when it obviously isn’t, so that’s another reason to throw that one in.

  3. Amy

    Let´s get the comments started! Did I hear correctly? CD 14!! Awesome! Looking forward to it:)

    Well, here in Spain we have a big meal for lunch but it´s good to teach culture by showing how others do it around the world. Here´s my healthy ideas:

    1. chicken salad (maybe this wouldn´t be a hit for the kids)
    2. spaghetti with meatballs
    3. sub sandwich with all the fixin´s

    I´d like to hear everyone else´s ideas. Together we can come up with the best three!

  4. Martin

    I would definitely suggest some foods that didn’t make the A-Z food cut…for instance Pasta or Spaghetti, sandwiches….not sure what else that would be good and healthy that hasn’t really been covered.

  5. Hugo

    Cool song, love the demo already!
    First impression is that is very difficult to find something that will have the same impact that hamburgers and pizza have on the kids, so I thought about something that you can play around with the graphics and also have more vocab.

    A nice grilled fish

    A salad from our garden

    A squeezed orange juice

    Hope it helps and I’ll keep thinking about it.


  6. nigel

    to try and add something different to food covered in other lessons, how about:

    curry, hotpot, barbecue, sushi

    or: school dinners, packed lunch, chip buttie, a pasty

    mmmmm feeling hungry myself, off to the fridge to see what’s there.

  7. Martin

    Yeah, I was trying to think of some country specific dishes. It would be cool to have a song like that or multiple versions of the song in the theme with different foods specific to a country or region. That way the kids can learn the English words for popular foods within their region that aren’t the COMMON Western foods like Hot Dogs, Ice Cream, etc.

  8. Julie

    I really like the demo. Made me laugh!

    I agree with Gumby, Trevor & Hugo. It’s a nice idea to have more than one word, and to take into consideration words that our students often have difficulty pronouncing. I teach in Italy, so for me those words would be fruit, vegetables, juice.
    I thought:
    – fresh fruit juice
    – tasty vegetable salad
    – crunchy carrot sticks
    – delicious grilled fish

    I cheated by adding a fourth. Sorry 😉 I was thinking that adding some food related adjectives could be useful as well.

    Ok, that’s my 2 cents, but I know that whatever Richard chooses will be great!

  9. olaia

    i would say, chicken, french fries and salad.

  10. Nathalie Balduck

    sparkling water

  11. Trevor

    Depends on the level you are aiming for, but maybe it’s a chance to add some descriptive language as Jamie Oliver has done. Super fresh fish, crispy green salad, juicy red apples, spicy hot sauce.

  12. Drew

    Vegetable Soup

    seem to be much of the world’s standard and nutritious food!

  13. Drew

    Continuing from this theme – what about the question – How was lunch today? How was school today? How was your day today? How was English class today?

  14. Sakura

    My top three would be:

    1. noodles because students use “ramen”

    2. pudding because they use purring!

    3. miso soup!

    May be you can also introduce the difference between school lunch and boxed/packed lunch (from Hi friends.

  15. Richard

    Super fresh fish, crispy green salad, juicy red apples, spicy hot sauce.

    Wow, now that does sound good!

  16. Richard

    Are those actually Jamie’s words, or yours Trevor?
    Got any more?

  17. Nadia

    students love ham and butter sandwiches, steak and french fries, ice cream (not very healthy ,I know)

  18. Julie Uchima

    Hi Richard sensei,
    I always appreciate your effort in making our lives as teachers, a walk in the park.
    May I make a suggestion, How about the school lunch menu? Usually, I ask the students, ” What’s for lunch? and they can’t readily answer.
    This new lesson is a brilliant idea.
    I may include this when our topic is about food.
    Thank you very much.

  19. Patricia

    Well, I’ve found out that alliteration always works with my younger students, so I’ll go with:

    -tasty tomatoes
    -savory soup
    -fresh fish

    Even though you’re not teaching those adjectives at present, they are a good mnemonic aid. Of course the list could be easily expanded following that rule…

  20. Kaye

    How about 3 meats, since it’s often a decision to choose between:


  21. Evaggelia Charalambous

    Hi Richard!! Great idea! Well my top three is :
    🙂 healthy and yummy!

  22. Zephrine

    My kids have made up a restaurant game that they love to play when we are in the garden at recess. They come round and ask me what I’d like to eat and I ask what’s on the menu then they list things. They usually start with things that we eat often at the workshop:

    Rice and fish
    Salad (I usually ask them what kind of salad so they detail : tomato, beet, carrot etc)
    Soup (this one is fun because we did a play for the parents last year called “Snake soup” based on the restaurant game they made up. Now when I ask what kind of soup is on the menu they make up crazy types like crocodile soup, snake soup, tiger soup and more usual things like fish, lentil or vegetable soup.

    We all love the restaurant game because I get to spontaneously teach “how much is it?” and get them to do math additions when I buy two items at once. They do it naturally while roleplaying so when we do a class on it it’s more like revision. This week we’re making a beach with snack stand in the garden where kids have to “buy” their snack while doing beach activities. A different version of the restaurant game as we’re adding “Summer clothes” to it. They play, I play along and they make my job so much easier 😀 😀


  23. Richard

    What do you think of these?

    Trevors set for the first verse:

    Super fresh fish,
    crispy green salad,
    juicy red apples,
    spicy hot sauce.

    Then for the second verse either:

    Chunky veggie soup,
    crystal clear water,
    pure white milk,
    energy boost bananas (energy boosting bananas),
    mixed bean bonanza,
    sliced cheese sandwiches.

    Or ….

    Superhero vegetables
    Delicious homemade stew
    Tasty crunchy sandwiches
    Grandmas Succulent soup

    Do any of those get your mouths’ watering??? 🙂

    (We figured out that just foods is too easy – and it looks like it has turned into a brilliant adjective song!)

  24. Margit

    not trying to be picky or starting a discussion but I don’T agree with the energy boosting bananas.
    According through TCM
    bananas are extreme Yin food, thus energy killers.

    I think it can be tricky to discuss on what is healthy or not, it really depends a lot on the person, and on the age~ but this whole TCM Yin Yan is very logical to me~ it is hard to tell everyone to eat raw veggies, or bananas, or NO cheese.

    So, I’d say keep it rather general.
    TO not get into trouble.

    I love

    Superhero vegetables
    Delicious homemade stew
    Tasty crunchy sandwiches
    Grandmas Succulent soup
    and think this is really safe!

  25. mary smiler

    Very interesting everybody! It’s amazing how many different ways we look at the same thing.
    I love allitteration as you’ve suggested Patricia, kids love it and helps memorize, however since they learn chunks I find they end up thinking that a ‘tasty tomato’ is the ‘word’ for tomato, unless they’ve already learned the word tomato itself.
    I wonder what your experience is about it
    In time they’ll usually learn that ‘tasty’ is a word and ‘tomato’ another…however I’d like to know what your experience is about it

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