Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Meal Fit for a Goat

GregoryGregory, the main character in Mitchell Sharmat’s children’s book Gregory the Terrible Eater, is not your typical goat. Instead of tin cans and shoes, Gregory prefers to eat vegetables, fruits, eggs and fish! As part of the Massachusetts Farm to School Project’s Kindergarten Initiative, on March 31, 2014, kindergarten students at the Belmont Street Community School in Worcester had a chance to read Gregory the Terrible Eater with FSU Food and Nutrition graduate intern Kate Walsh, and create a breakfast for Gregory out of his favorite healthy foods.

Through a weekly classroom curriculum focusing on different themes such as “Healthy Snacking” and “Building Healthy Meals,” the Kindergarten Initiative (KI) educates kindergartners and their families about local, healthy foods. The goal of the Gregory the Terrible Eater lesson was to help students understand how different food groups fit into MyPlate and why balanced meals are important. Students read Gregory the Terrible Eater as a group, then spent some time thinking about different foods that would make a healthy meal for Gregory.

Based in predominately low-income schools within the Worcester Public School (WPS) district, the Kindergarten Initiative reaches 700 students in 29 classrooms during the school year. Local food tastings and farm visits are integrated into the curriculum as a way to reinforce concepts taught in the classroom. To that end, the KI focus is consistent with the WPS Wellness Policy, which vows to “purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables,” and to provide nutrition education that “includes participatory activities such as…taste testing and farm visits.”

For more resources on wellness policies and ways to incorporate nutrition education at your school, visit the School Wellness Initiative and Policies page at the JSI Resource Center and the Wellness Solution for Massachusetts website.

Submitted by: Kate Walsh, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition student

West Boylston Students Learn to Eat a Rainbow of Colors!

This past spring, 50 first and second grade students at Major Edwards Elementary School in West Boylston, MA received a lesson on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. This lesson, entitled “Eat a Rainbow” and taught by graduate FSU Food and Nutrition intern Kirtan Singh, featured both original content as well as components adapted from Bergen County’s “Ever Taste a Rainbow?” lesson. The goal? To introduce elementary age children to the importance of eating a “rainbow” of colors of fruits and vegetables.

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Students at Major Edwards Elementary School ran an obstacle course while learning about fruits and vegetables in different color groups.

During the lesson, students were first shown pictures of different fruits and vegetables and introduced to produce from different color groups (yellow, red, green, blue/violet, white, and orange).

Next, students were divided into groups, one group for each color, and were asked to run an obstacle course in the gymnasium. At the end of each obstacle, an intern or teacher asked each student to name a fruit or vegetable in a certain color group. This allowed the students to become more familiar with the fruits and vegetables in the rainbow, while being physically active.

The West Boylston Public School Wellness Policy calls on educators to “provide more opportunities for students to engage in physical activity,” as well as to “support and promote proper dietary habits contributing to students’ health status and academic performance.” Incorporating nutrition into physical education classes can help reinforce nutrition concepts, while achieving the wellness policy goals.

Visit the JSI Resource Center for information on ways to integrate nutrition education into PE. For more resources on wellness policies and ways to incorporate nutrition education at your school, visit JSI’s School Wellness Initiative and Policies page and the Wellness Solution for Massachusetts website.

~ blog provided by Kirtan Singh, FSU Food and Nutrition Graduate Student

Millbury Elementary Students Get Cooking with Whole Grains!

The Millbury Public Schools Wellness Policy states “Students will have the opportunity to practice behaviors that enhance health and/or reduce health risks”. One of the best ways to get students practicing healthy behaviors, including healthy eating, is by getting them in the kitchen.

On March 7th, fourth and fifth grade students participated in an interactive nutrition education lesson titled “Choosing and Using Whole Grains during an after school program taught by FSU Food and Nutrition intern, Amanda Meisner. Students first learned the differences between whole grains and refined grains by exploring the different parts of the grain and the nutrients they contain.

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Supplies for the mixing team to prepare the Apple-Raisin Quinoa Salad recipe.

Next, it was time to cook! The class was divided into three teams—measuring, chopping and mixing. Each team was assigned a different part of the Apple-Raisin Quinoa Salad, adapted from this recipe. Students worked in their teams to gather the spinach, chop the apples using safe knife skills, and measure ingredients for the dressing. In less than 20 minutes, the recipe was assembled and ready for taste-testing.

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Students in Millbury, MA learned about whole grains through cooking.

All 13 students were willing to try the recipe. The students were excited to learn new skills, try new foods, and were eager to bring the recipe home to their families!

Unsure of how to get started cooking with whole grains in your school? Check out the John C. Stalker Institute’s Back to Basics: Whole Grains workshop resources. Also visit the Recipes and Menus page at the JSI Resource Center for ideas.

For more tools and ideas for working with your school’s wellness policy, visit the School Wellness Initiative and Policies page at the JSI Resource Center and the Wellness Solution for Massachusetts website.

~ blog provided by Amanda Meisner, FSU Food and Nutrition student