The NutriBee National Nutrition Competition

Mission: To engage and equip 5th-6th graders in healthful food selection and resilient food safety practices.

NutriBee is a bee-style competition, which builds excitement and implements motivational techniques modeled by Scripps National Spelling Bee and The National Geographic Bee.

Researchers Ingrid Kohlstadt MD, MPH and Joel Gittelsohn PhD, MS are conducting pilot programs in diverse communities to study NutriBee as the first public health intervention of its kind by the Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The research is funded by a grant from MetLife Foundation.

A fun, empowering, national event starring kids

Imagine 100 diversely-American middle-schoolers taking the national stage for nutrition. They are leading their generation’s health while joined by celebrity hosts at a memorable natural setting such as the White House organic garden.  The students, their families, their schools, and their communities are recognized during the event and the finalists will win prizes, awards, and scholarships.

Like any bee-style competition, NutriBee provides intriguing quiz questions which engage the participants and the audience. Join NutriBee contestants in a few sample questions:

  • Wild rice might be “jingling” in your pockets. What U.S. state or territory quarter features this indigenous American crop:
    A) Arkansas B) Samoan Islands C) Alaska
  • Flamingo feathers are pink, salmon is salmon-colored, and carrots are orange because of which plant nutrient:
    A) Anthocyanin B) Beta Carotene C) Lycopene

Engaging materials for classrooms and organizations

The NutriBee National Nutrition Competition is scalable, and rooted in 5th-6th grade classrooms and organizations across America with a sustainable 20-hour curriculum:

  • Represents fun, engaging materials which strengthen reading and reasoning skills and align with state grade-level learning requirements.
  • Links nutrition with kid’s issues and interests such as appearance, athletics, enjoying foods, and relating to family.
  • Fosters resilience and connects school and home, because students are equipped to share NutriBee with their families.
  • Includes extensive resources: Teacher training, equipment and supplies, food experiences, and the chance for national recognition.

Among the thousands of students engaged at the local level approximately 100 are selected annually to participate in the national finals. Selection of finalists is based on class participation, projects, and an essay entitled “What makes me a nutrition leader?”

Additionally, NutriBee will be presented to thousands of elementary school principals at the National Association of Elementary School Principals 2013 National Conference.

Coaches and club-leaders give everyone a chance

National NutriBee participants who come from Title 1 schools and other qualifying programs will be assigned a coach.  Coaches are selected from the community and will receive a stipend and recognition for their coaching.

NutriBee quiz questions – a stage for high school nutrition leaders
Bee Quest Main Image Final

The Spelling Bee references the dictionary, The National Geographic Bee references the atlas, and NutriBee calls on future nutrition leaders! Among the questions will be submissions from high school students participating in Bee Quest, NutriBee’s question campaign. For more information, see

Kids can take action

While focusing on engaging the students’ interest, NutriBee materials reinforce education on ten food-related actions linked to disease prevention and safe food handling:

  1. Tasting and smelling food.
  2. Choosing appropriate portion sizes.
  3. Reducing sugar intake.
  4. Increasing fiber intake.
  5. Increasing plant-sourced nutrients.
  6. Reducing processed and saturated animal fats.
  7. Drinking enough water (hydrating).
  8. Eating breakfast.
  9. Connecting food with the natural world.
  10. Following key food safety guidelines.

About NutriBee’s founder

Ingrid Kohlstadt MD, MPH is NutriBee’s Executive Director, and is a physician graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is Associate Faculty at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Board-certified in preventive medicine, Dr. Kohlstadt earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health emphasizing epidemiology and an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine, and completed a two year appointment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the Office of the Commissioner, Office of Pediatric Therapeutics. Additionally she has worked for the CDC, the USDA, the Indian Health Service, and the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, and practiced medicine on every continent including as station doctor in Antarctica. Dr. Kohlstadt unites seventy thought leaders as the editor of the bestselling, authoritative clinical text Advancing Medicine with Food and Nutrients, 2nd Edition, CRC Press, Dec 2012. She strives to fully utilize food and nutrients in combating disease and increasing America’s resilience.