Authors as Published

Elena Serrano, Associate Professor, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise. (


Age  Children 7-10X Children 11-14X  Mixed AgesVirginia Standards of Learning
English 3.1, 3.2, 3.8, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2
Health 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.2, 7.2, 8.3
Setting   Classroom    Camp     Either
Location   OutsideX Indoors     Either

Project Skill: Building healthy mini sandwiches

Success Indicators: As a result of this activity, children will be able to:

  • build healthy mini sandwiches

Life Skills: Decision making, Learning to learn, Teamwork

Preparation Time: Buy and prepare the food. Set up stations.


  • A variety of sliced bread, crackers, and/or tortillas cut into small pieces for “snack-size” sandwiches
  • Vegetables and a luncheon meat (or meat substitute)
  • Toothpicks
  • Napkins

Optional Handouts:

• Label Literacy (VCE publication 348-247)


  1. Wash and cut the vegetables into different types of shapes. Set up three different stations – one with the breads, one with vegetables, and one with meat or a meat substitute.
  2. Let the students know that their goal is to create a fun snack-wich with at least one food from each of the three food groups. They can be as creative as they want – making smiley faces or even animals with eyes and ears. Encourage them to try a vegetable that they may not have thought of for their sandwich.
  3. Assign students to one of six groups. Have each group begin with the breads station, followed by the vegetables, then the meat.
  4. Request that the students wait to try their snack-wiches until the other groups have made theirs. When the first groups are done making their snack-wiches, ask them to work on their handouts too. When everyone is done, have them look to see what types of snack-wiches were designed.
  5. Enjoy the snack!
  6. After they are done, go through the handouts and discussion questions. Remember to explain the importance of eating a snack that has foods from a minimum of three different food groups.
  7. Request that they make snack-wiches at home with their parents and try a “new” food.


  • Have them wash their hands first.
  • Demonstrate how to go through the stations before they start. Have a few creative snack-wiches for them to see.
  • Try to choose some vegetables that you know they’ll like – like lettuce – along with other “new” vegetables that they might not consider for sandwiches, but may like – pickles, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers. Be creative when you cut up the vegetables. Cut them into triangles, circles, squares, and long strips.
Snacks can be a healthy part of your diet. Try making a snack-wich at home.

Other Ideas:

  • Add another food preparation activity for the other three groups to do – such as Banana Roll, Fruit Salad, Peanut Butter Balls, or Fruit Yogurt Crunch. That way they have learned how to make a few snacks… or a whole meal!
  • If you do not have the money or time to buy food, assign students to different food groups and ask them to draw some of their favorite foods. Then, have them build different snack-wiches with their pictures and think of fun snack-wich names too.
  • If you have time, combine this activity with Grazing on Grains by having students look at different types of grains and the snack foods that are made with them.
  • Incorporate a few ideas from the Label Literacy activity into this lesson. Have children look at different side items (chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc.) that might go along with the “sandwich” and fill in the Label Literacy handout. Then discuss as a group.


  • What did you observe during this activity?
  • How did you decide which foods to choose?
  • Which snack-wich created in your class was your favorite?


  • What is your favorite sandwich?
  • What type of whole grains or bread do you like for sandwiches?
  • What are some different kinds of vegetables you have tried on sandwiches?
  • What about fruit? Have you ever put any fruit on your sandwiches?
  • What is the weirdest sandwich you have heard of?
  • Why is it important to think of creative ways to make sandwiches?


  • How will learning about making a snack-wich help you?
  • What might you try in the future when you make sandwiches?
  • How does a snack-wich compare to MyPlate?


  • What will you tell your family about making snack-wiches?

This publication was partially funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with low incomes. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact your local county or city Department of Social Services (phone listed under city/county government).  For help finding a local number, call toll-free: 1-800-552-3431 (M-F 8:15-5:00, except holidays).  By calling your local DSS office, you can get other useful information about services.  
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
This publication was partially funded by the Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program, USDA, CSREES.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

December 13, 2011