Physical Education and Nutrition Education Working Together (PE-Nut) logo

 – Physical Education and Nutrition Education Working Together


Students being physically active and eating healthy


PE-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. PE-Nut is designed to improve health behaviors in a school environment by presenting simple, consistent nutrition and physical activity messages via multiple approaches. Academic achievement improves when students receive a healthful diet and when they can be physically active throughout the school day. In PE-Nut, physical educators, classroom teachers and school administrators work together to improve nutrition and physical activity in K–5 school settings. It fits nicely with the Coordinated School Health (CSH) approach in schools.

Students who eat nutritious food and participate in regular physical activity are healthier. They miss fewer days of school and are more on task. This means that teachers’ instructional time is more efficient. Numerous studies have linked physical activity among students to higher test scores. So not only will students’ health improve, but they'll be more focused learners.

The goal of PE-Nut is to affect healthy behavior change, including:

  • Increase participation in a physically active lifestyle.
  • Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk or dairy products.
  • Balance caloric intake from food and beverages with calories expended (upper grades).
  • Try new foods.
  • Choose healthy snacks.
  • Wash hands before eating.

The components of Coordinated School Health (CSH) directly addressed through PE-Nut are:

  • Health Promotion for staff, indirectly through all components.
  • Healthy school environment, through all components of PE-Nut.
  • Nutrition services, through a unit in Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools.
  • Quality nutrition education through EPEC nutrition-themed reinforcing activities; Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools; Health Through Literacy (HTL); the HTL take-home book bag; and the PE-Nut newsletters.
  • Quality physical education through the nutrition-enhanced Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum (EPEC); Health Through Literacy (HTL); the HTL take-home book bag; and PE-Nut newsletters.
  • Family/community involvement, through the PE-Nut newsletter, the Healh Through Literacy (HTL) take-home book bag, the family letter in each unit of Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools, newsletter articles in the school’s monthly or bi-weekly newsletter, taken from the Building Leadership Guide, and school-wide events.

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Building Leaders and Supporting Health Champions

School-Wide Nutrition and Physical Activity Messages

Since messages are more effective when they are consistent and delivered through multiple channels, all school staff and volunteers can play a vital role by using the Building Leadership Guide to reinforce nutrition messages. Use the links below to help promote a healthy school environment.

Building Leadership Guide PDFBuilding Leadership Guide

Building Leadership Guide: School Announcements Word documentBuilding Leadership Guide: School Announcements

Building Leadership Guide: School Newsletters Word documentBuilding Leadership Guide: School Newsletters

Ensuring Success: Healthy Classrooms, Health Schools™ K-2 PDFEnsuring Success: Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools™ K-2

PDF of Ensuring Success: Healthy Classrooms, Health Schools  grades 3-5Ensuring Success: Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools™ 3-5

PDF of Classroom Book Sets & Physical Activity Book BagEnsuring Success: Health Through Literacy™ Classroom Book Sets & Physical Activity Book Bag

Take-Home Book Bags PDFEnsuring Success: Health Through Literacy™ Take-Home Book Bags

Classroom Instruction

Teacher instructing students in the classroom

In the classroom, students not only learn why it is important to eat properly, they learn how to make healthy choices while sampling healthy snacks, all in an environment that supports healthy living. Physical activity is also included via activity breaks in the classroom. This all happens within a school culture where teachers, physical educators, administrators and other partners (such as the food service director) teach and reinforce the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition with consistent language and messages.

Many of the PE-Nut materials also have core curriculum links, so you can reinforce instruction in math, science, social studies, and language arts.

Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools (HCHS)

Children jumping on the playground

Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools helps teachers transform first their classroom and, ultimately, their school to be environments that promote healthy eating and physical activity.

One HCHS set is for grades K–2, the other for grades 3–5. Both can be ordered with companion books tailored to a specific grade. Both also include activities for teachers and students that introduce and reinforce healthy messages.

Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools touches on all areas defined by the Centers for Disease Control as part of a Coordinated School Health program.

Health Through Literacy

The book sets that make up Health Through Literacy include five to six books, age-appropriate for each grade K–5, with nutrition or physical activity themes.

Each book comes with a tip sheet to enhance the health messages within the books. These tip sheets help teachers to discuss the books with their classes, incorporate physical activity into the reading of the book, provide a food tasting opportunity for students, and integrate health messages with other areas of the program.


Studies have indicated that classroom physical activity breaks improve on-task behaviors in students, thereby increasing the learning experience of the child. Teachers can use FitBits™ to offer students a physical activity break lasting 7–10 minutes while simultaneously teaching nutrition concepts in the classroom.

Each book has activities targeted at a grade level. The Kindergarten book includes thirty activities; the Lower Elementary (grades 1–2) and Upper Elementary (grades 3–5) each have forty. The nutrition concepts include: Healthy Bodies, Food Groups, Fruits and Veggies, and Healthy Snacks.

Each book also includes a CD with music to play during the physical activity component, if desired. View more detailed information about FitBits™

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Nutrition-Enhanced Physical Education

In the whole-school approach of PE-Nut, physical education (PE) and nutrition education work together to create healthy student behavior change. In physical education class, students not only learn why it is important to be physically active, but also the skills to do so. Nutrition education is also infused into the PE instruction.

Students play a game using fruit and veggie toys to reinforce nutrition education concepts

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

Being a true curriculum, EPEC includes:

  • Instructional objectives
  • A scope and sequence matrix
  • Developmentally-appropriate teaching/learning progressions
  • Instructional lessons
  • Fun, reinforcing games with integrated nutritional messages (in 136 different lessons)
  • Quality assessment rubrics

EPEC is being used by thousands of teachers nationwide to strengthen both the practice and perception of physical education in their schools. View more detailed information about EPEC Classic™

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Parent Engagement Activities

Because many schools have weekly or monthly opportunities for parents to become engaged with school themes or issues, schools are encouraged to work in conjunction with their PE-Nut Nutrition Educator to include nutrition, physical education and physical activity information as part of these regular parent engagement activities. The Building Leadership Guide is provided to school administrators as a resource to help incorporate healthy eating and physical activity messages into parent engagement activities.

These activities reinforce the message being taught in the gymnasium and classrooms and allow outreach to parents and guardians of students and the community beyond.

Children running through the yard

Son helping mom wash fresh vegetables in the kitchen sinkTake-Home Activities

PE-Nut includes many materials that reach beyond the student and the classroom to encompass parents and families, such as the Parent Newsletters. Four quarterly newsletters specific for each grade K–5 that focus on physical education, physical activity, and nutrition are available. Each newsletter reinforces not only the physical education skills taught in EPEC PE classes, but also the personal/social skills. The newsletters also provide ideas for families to get physically active together.

The nutrition side of each newsletter provides a brief article addressing common misconceptions regarding nutrition, ideas for family nutritional activities, an easy recipe and the title of a related book.

A blank area on each newsletter can be used for school announcements or for recognition of an agency that underwrites the costs of the newsletters.

The PE-Nut program also offers other materials that help spread messages about healthy eating and physical activity to the home, including:

  • Health Through Literacy Take-home bookbags for two age groups (grades K–5 and 3–5)
  • Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools family letters
  • Health Through Literacy books available from the school library for students to check out and read at home
  • PE-Nut recipe booklets
  • PE-Nut healthy snack lists
  • Recipes for healthy classroom celebrations

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Ordering Programming Materials

Please use the Comprehensive Programming Materials Order Form (updated 12/8/17) to order all Michigan Fitness products, including:

  • Healthy Classrooms, Healthy Schools and related products
  • FitBits
  • EPEC™ Classic (Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum) and related products
  • Health Through Literacy
  • PE-Nut Newsletters
  • Kid-Approved Healthy Snacks, We Like to Eat, and many others!

Individual objectives from the EPEC™ Classic K–5 curriculum are now available for purchase! Please use the EPEC™ Classic K–5 Individual Objectives form to order.

If you have questions regarding products or ordering, please contact us at