PE-Nut: Elementary School Program

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PE-Nut logoPE-Nut is a nutrition and physical education program that uses a whole-school approach to motivate students, parents, and educators to be physically active and eat healthier within the elementary school setting.  Carefully linked to the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, PE-Nut provides a pathway to infuse nutrition and physical education while covering the specific material required by the state.  The program incorporates a planned curriculum, food sampling, structured physical activity, books, take home bags, daily health messages, and even school-wide events.


Components of PE-Nut:

Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools Curriculum
This K-2 and 3-5 curriculum is designed to help teachers transform their classroom into a place that promotes healthy eating and physical activity while covering Grade Level Content Expectations.

Nutrition Educators
Nutrition educators visit selected classrooms in schools to conduct lessons from the Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools Curriculum, and provide a healthy snack tasting.  Nutrition educators also attend various school events throughout the year.

Health through Literacy
Participating classrooms receive a grade-specific bag of 5-6 books with nutrition or physical activity messages.

Fit Bits
Fit Bits are 7-10 minute physical activity breaks that teach nutrition concepts or physical and social skills.

EPEC (Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum)
EPEC is an easy-to-use, award-winning physical education curriculum aligned with national (NASPE) standards.  EPEC teaches students the knowledge and skills and fosters the competence and confidence they need to enjoy physical activity for a lifetime.

Building Leadership Guide
School administrators reinforce nutrition messages through provided morning announcements and by including nutrition and physical activity blurbs found in this guide on school websites or newsletters.


The NKFM is currently implementing PE-Nut in 18 schools, reaching over 10,000 students per year with nutrition education in the gym, over the public announcement system, in the library and with family resources.  Over 3,000 students are in PE-Nut classrooms where their teacher receives additional nutrition and physical education resources and a nutrition educator guest teaches to reinforce health messages. 

Success Stories:

“I was surprised how easy it was to ‘plug-in’ nutrition education into my plant unit and Writers Workshop How-To (Make a Healthy Sandwich) lesson.  My class also keeps a journal about the soft fruits and veggies daily.  Also, I talked to every parent about the program at conferences.”
-First Grade Teacher

“What a great program!! [Our Nutrition Educator] is so motivated, energetic, and shares great ideas/info with us.  This program is also great because it is geared for the kids to learn nutrition, healthy habits and exercise.  Thank you.”
- Kindergarten Teacher

“I learned that by trying new things you are more healthy.  Thank you for telling me to be healthy.  I love being healthy.”
-2nd Grade Student

“What I learned in the PE-Nut program was to do exercises, eat healthy stuff like vegetables and fruits and what I liked was when we tasted some delicious food.”
-4th Grade Student

The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan staff is available to provide trainings, materials, technical assistance, and more to participating PE-Nut schools. The number of grant-funded schools is limited, however if you are interested in purchasing the program, a fee-for-service model is available. Details can be found on the Fee for Service flyer.

To learn more about having the PE-Nut program in your school, please contact:
Liz Nienhuis
(313) 259-1574 ext. 303
[email protected]

How You Can Get Involved:

For Schools

  • Does your school have a Coordinated School Health Team or a Wellness Committee?  Consider forming one.   Visit our Resources page for some tips to get started.
  • Try adopting a healthy snack policy for your school.

For Teachers

  • Consider implementing healthy classroom policies like non-food rewards and healthy classroom parties.  See the Resources page for ideas on how to get started.
  • Be a good role model!  Your students look up to you.  Make sure that you make healthy food and drink choices in front of them and encourage them to try new foods.
  • If you are a participating PE-Nut teacher, continue to implement PE-Nut by sending home the take home bag or read from the Health Through Literacy classroom bag, doing Fit Bits, and incorporate activities from the Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools curriculum.
  • If you would like PE-Nut in your school, ask your principal to contact the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

For Parents

  • If your student is already attending a PE-Nut school, make sure to ask your child what they are learning and tasting.  Read the books in the Take Home book bag when it is your child’s turn to bring it home.
  • Make sure that your child has the energy he or she needs to learn at school by providing healthy meals.  If you pack a lunch for your child, load up on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.  Bring healthy snacks for classroom parties and birthdays instead of treats like cupcakes.
  • Be a good role model!  Your child notices the choices that you make.  If you make healthy eating choices and are active every day, your child will be too.
  • Instead of rewarding your child with sweet treats or salty snacks, try doing an activity with your child or give them a non-food reward like a sticker.  Ask your child what they would like as a reward for good behavior or schoolwork.
  • Get involved in your school’s Coordinated School Health Team or Wellness Committee or ask your school to start one.


Funder: Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation, Lansing

Participating Schools

The PE-Nut program is in a number of schools across Michigan. For a complete list please visit

Find our more information about the PE-Nut program and its components by visiting the Michigan Nutrition Network website.

USDA MyPlate
This website has many tips on how to eat healthy, shop smart, and choose foods that your kids will enjoy.

California Department of Public Health Cookbooks
The California Department of Public Health has many great recipes ideas for families of all cultures.

The Michigan Nutrition Standards Toolkit
This toolkit has many ideas on how to make healthy choices at home and at school, making it a great resource for parents and teachers.

For more resources visit the PEACH Resources page.