Students at Framingham Public Schools Learn the Five Fantastic Food Groups from MyPlate

Framingham Public School is dedicated to providing nutritious healthy meals that meet school nutrition guidelines and promote healthy habits for continued lifelong nutrition and fitness

FSU dietetic intern, Valerie Thibaud educated the Potter Rd third grade students about the five fantastic food groups from MyPlate.

practices. The Wellness Policy focuses on improving student health and sharing the message of nutrition and wellness among students and teachers. In order to optimize nutrition education, the school’s health department has partnered with the Framingham State University of Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program to have student dietitians provide nutrition lessons to Framingham Public School students.

This spring, Framingham State University Dietetic Undergraduate student, Valerie Thibaud introduced third graders at Potter Rd Elementary School to the five food groups from MyPlate.  Students learned the importance of eating foods from the five food groups to stay healthy.

Students explored the MyPlate food groups by creating a meal and snack using the MyPlate structure. After learning about the five fantastic food groups students were asked to provide examples of foods from each group. Students then identified a nutritious example from each food groups to make a balanced meal using activity sheets such as the one shown below. Students responded well to this lesson and stated they would use what they learned at home. They enjoyed making a meal and snack and were excited to know they could use this whenever they help with making meals or snacks.

Students identified a nutritious example from each food group to make a balanced meal using this activity sheet.

For more information and resources on nutrition education lessons and improving nutrition and wellness in Massachusetts, visit the John C Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University’s JSI Resource Center.

Submitted by: Valerie Thibaud, FSU Undergraduate Food and Nutrition student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Billerica Public School Students Learn All About a Food Label

On April 2nd, students at Vining Elementary School learned about reading the food label from Framingham State University student dietitians Tyler Carden and Caitlin Sullivan. The information presented, which can be found at Nourish Interactive and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was a basic, age-appropriate overview of the material on the food label (which included serving size, sugar, and ingredients).

The students were able to showcase their prior knowledge and experiences using the label, with one student sharing how she knew the first ingredient on the list is the “biggest part” of the food. After the lesson, students had fun looking at real empty food packages and filling out a worksheet about pertinent label information, which allowed students to become food label detectives. Many students asked for more than one product to investigate. Students had an entertaining time comparing foods, helping each other find label information, and reporting their findings in front of the class.  The students, ranging from 3rd to 5th grade, are in the middle of the concrete operational stage of development, which allows for effective nutrition education due to the growing ability to learn new information, use logic, and understand new viewpoints.

The Billerica Public Schools’ Wellness Policy encourages the advancement of nutrition education throughout all grade levels to foster healthy choices and support development as students begin to develop independence. This was reflected that day in the classroom, as students eagerly filled out activity sheets, asked engaging questions, and felt proud showing their knowledge and interest in the subject.

For more information regarding educational resources for nutrition for Elementary, Middle, and High School students, please visit the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.

Submitted by Tyler Carden, Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Becoming Sugar Savvy in Milford

On Monday, April 9th, Kaitlyn Shannon, Student Dietitian from Framingham State University, instructed a nutrition lesson with a classroom of students at Milford High School. In the lesson, the students discussed common sources of sugar within the standard American diet, health risks associated with a high sugar diet, and ways to reduce sugar consumption. Incorporating nutrition education into the classroom is one of the many ways in which the Milford Public School District fulfills its Wellness Policy.

Kaitlyn Shannon, Student Dietitian from Framingham State University, instructed students about sugar in varying beverages.

During this lesson, students were assigned common sugar-sweetened beverages. These beverages included coffee, juice, soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Students determined the number of teaspoons of sugar within a serving of each of these common beverages using the Nutrition Facts label. The students even measured out the teaspoons of sugar into a plastic cup to gain a better understanding of how much sugar is in each beverage.

As seen in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, reducing the amount of sugar the typical American consumes is of concern. The highest contributor of added sugars in the diet of people over 2 years of age is sugar-sweetened beverages, contributing about 47% of the sugar consumed. Students of high school age have the highest sugar consumption recorded nationally. The students enjoyed how involved the lesson was for them and gained a greater understanding of healthy beverage choices.

In addition to this one nutrition lesson, the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition also offers classroom resources to promote health and wellness including lessons that address sodium, whole grains, physical activity, among many others on the Resource Center.

Submitted by: Kaitlyn Shannon, Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Building Nutrition Knowledge in the Billerica Public School District

Caitlin Sullivan taught third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders at the Vining Elementary School about the nutrition food label.

Billerica Public School district sets a high bar when it comes to nutrition. As stated in their wellness policy, Billerica strives to “promote healthy behaviors and decision­-making, and to encourage lifelong patterns of balanced nutrition.” In an effort to achieve this goal, the district works closely with Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics and welcomes dietetic interns into the classroom to teach students nutrition focused lessons.

This spring, graduate student Caitlin Sullivan taught third-,  fourth-, and fifth-graders at the Vining Elementary School about the nutrition food label. Students enjoyed learning how to use the food label to make informed choices for healthy eating.

During the “Getting Familiar with Food Labels” lesson, students used a variety of food packages to locate information on the food label to fill in the activity sheet shown here. The ingredients section of the food label was used to identify food allergens in the food. The students had a great time acting as detectives to locate information such as serving size, calories per serving, grams of sugar, fiber, and protein. Everyone asked for additional worksheets and food labels to test their knowledge.

Students can use the information to make healthy food decisions which will encourage balanced and nutritious eating patterns for years to come. To get more information on how to incorporate nutrition education lessons into your classroom, and how to improve the wellness policy in your district go to the The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition website.

Submitted by: Caitlin Sullivan, Graduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Students Learn the Costs of Fast, Convenience Foods Versus DIY at Andover Public Schools

Andover Pubic School’s Food and Nutrition Services are dedicated to providing healthy and delicious meals to their students during the school day. The assortment of choices students have daily in the cafeteria exposes them to a variety of different foods. Nutrition Services also supports learning opportunities, which help students build skills and confidence to make healthy lifestyle choices, according to their wellness policy.

FSU Dietetic Intern, Rachel Tedford, using an online survey tool, Kahoot, to test students’ knowledge on the costs of choosing fast and convenience foods

This spring they  welcomed dietetic interns from  Framingham State University into classrooms to provide nutrition education. In April 2018, Framingham State dietetic intern, Rachel Tedford, visited a seventh grade health class at West Middle School. She provided a lesson on the, “Costs of Fast and Convenient Foods Vs. DIY (doing it yourself).” Students learned about both the monetary and health costs that come with choosing fast and convenience foods. Many students were shocked at the costs and calorie savings that come with homemaking your meals.

This age group is crucial to target with this message because they are just beginning to have more freedom in their food choices. Many students reported that they felt constantly bombarded by food advertisements and fast food establishments. Students completed an activity using an online quiz tool, Kahoot. This new online quiz tool displays multiple-choice questions on the projector, students are required to enter their answer in real-time on their laptops, smartphones, or tablet. The tool then displays the distribution of answers on the projector, as seen in the photo above. Students were asked to estimate the calorie and cost difference of several different fast food items, compared to a homemade version.

Following the activity students brainstormed skills and habits that would prevent them from turning to these fast and convenient items. Students came up with ideas such as meal prepping at the beginning of the week, packing a snack the night before, and always having an emergency snack handy in their backpack.

For more information about smart snacks, and other nutrition education topics and opportunities, visit the John Stalker Institute (JSI) resource center.

Submitted by: Rachel Tedford, Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Oakdale Elementary Students Have Fun with Food Groups

Dedham Public Schools believe that good nutrition and physical activity are key components to a healthy lifestyle.  According to the district’s wellness policy, nutrition education is taught to instill the knowledge and skills to eat a healthy diet and reduce the risk of illness and chronic disease.  To further enhance their students’ nutrition education, the Food and Nutrition Services Department has partnered with student dietetic interns from Framingham State University’s Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program.

FSU Dietetic intern, Jaime Levesque, presenting the “Fun with Food Groups” lesson at Oakdale Elementary School.

Throughout the month of April, Graduate Student Dietetic Intern, Jaime Levesque taught the importance of eating a balanced meal that incorporates foods from each of the five food groups to students in 1st through 3rd grade at the Oakdale Elementary School.  During the “Fun with Food Groups” lesson, students were introduced to MyPlate and led in a discussion about the five food groups and the nutritional benefits of each.  During the activity, each student was given a food model to place into the correct food group at the front of the class.  During the second part of the lesson, students identified the food group components of their favorite meal which was then drawn out on a paper tray and shared with other students in the class.  When the lesson ended, students were given handouts from Nourish Interactive to encourage them to incorporate a component from each food group into their meals at home and at school.  Students had a great time with the food models and learning about how each food group helps to maintain a healthy body.

For additional resources and lesson plans that can be used to bring nutrition education to the classroom, visit the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.

Submitted by: Jaime Levesque, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Healthy Choices, Healthy Lifestyles at Milford Public Schools

Milford Public Schools welcomed student dietitian Danielle Allen to Memorial Elementary School.  Danielle Allen worked with second graders to discuss how foods fuel your body and why physical activity is important. For students, learning about a healthy diet and the importance of physical activity is important to promote lifelong healthy lifestyles. They learned how to find a pulse on your neck and wrists. The students checked pulses while they were calm and sitting. Afterwards it was time to get moving! The students had fun imagining they were chasing a dog around the yard. When they finally caught the pretend dog, the students noticed how their heart was beating faster. They learned about how your heart has to work harder when you are active.  Children should keep their body moving for 60 minutes every day!

Danielle Allen demonstrates taking her pulse.

Students talked about how eating the right food is important in order to stay active. Students were excited to share some favorite fruits and vegetables.  By the end of the lesson, students were able to talk about why eating a healthy diet is important to keep your body moving.  Students listed fruits, vegetables, and protein as some fuel sources for your body.

Danielle has helped implement the Milford Public School’s Wellness policy by teaching age appropriate content regarding healthy choices. There are many resources for lesson plans for students available at the John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition resource center. More information regarding nutrition for children is available at the Eatright.org’s children’s section.

Submitted by Danielle Allen, FSU Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Improving Nutrition from Elementary School to the College Campus

Dedham Public Schools are committed to promoting and protecting lifelong health and a positive learning environment for students. The district has recently adapted their Wellness Policy to focus on improving student health through nutrition and physical activity.  The policy provides applicable methods to help families, teachers, and the food service department better integrate health lessons into everyday life. In order to optimize nutrition education, the school’s Food Service Department has partnered with the Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program.

This spring, Framingham State University’s Dietetic Graduate Student Olivia Weinstein introduced first and third graders from Oakland Elementary School to an array of fruits and vegetables. Students learned about the importance of eating the colors of the rainbow to enhance their health.  Students had the opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables during the “Make a Rainbow” activity, in which students created rainbows by adding pieces of produce to a wooden skewer.

Olivia Weinstein, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student.

In addition, Weinstein taught a high school Women’s Health Class about added sugar and how to identify it on a food label.  Using a mystery scenario, students investigated numerous food labels to calculate a character’s daily added-sugar consumption. Weinstein took the lesson a step further and gave the students tools to navigate campus dining in anticipation of attending college.  Using materials found on MyPlate, students gained a better understanding of a healthy breakfast and how to order healthy foods at coffee shops and other food institutions.  One student commented that she now feels that she “knows what to order when she is on her way to school or on her way to soccer practice.”

Interested in including nutrition education lessons at your school? The John Stalker Institute is an excellent resource for lesson plans, handouts, and other nutrition resources to help meet the initiatives of your school’s wellness policy.

Submitted by: Olivia Weinstein FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics