Nutrition Month Contests

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Here are directions for a very clever contest that can be conducted in most cafeterias.

Guess the Calories in the Cafeteria Contest – By Karen Buch RD, LDN:

1. Build 3 trays of completely different food and beverage selections.

2. Make one example with healthful choices, one example that makes less-healthful choices and one that is a “mystery tray” made of typical choices.

3. Make labels on toothpicks sticking out of the foods on the first 2 example plates with calorie and fat content.

4. Tally the total calorie and fat grams and write them on a paper table tent in front of the first and second trays.

5. Offer slips of paper for contest entrants to guess the total calories for the mystery tray on their entry forms. Award a prize to the person who comes closest.

(NOTE: Discard any perishable foods used for the display. Place a sign that states food is “for display purposes only.”)

Pedometer Contest – By Judy Simon, MS, RD, CD: Set up a competition between departments to track their calories burned using pedometers. Have the company provide them free of charge along with incentives such as T-shirts or water bottles.

Portion Contest – By Susan Jaffe, RD, CD: A dietetic intern at Susan’s Head Start Program just did a workshop on portion sizes for employees. She gave each individual a plastic sandwich bag and asked them to pour out what they thought was a serving of Cheerios. The winner(s) received a nutrition-related prize.

Fast Meal Contest – By Mindy Ellsworth, RD: Have a contest for favorite recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. It may also include those that can be made ahead of time for fast preparation. The recipe must meet the guidelines as set out in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The dietitian should be available to help staff modify recipes as needed. Hold a potluck in the cafeteria where staff can sample recipes and vote for their favorites. Winners are awarded prizes and copies of all recipes are given out to everyone.

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