Monthly Archives: October 2014

Eating a Rainbow: What Can Color Do for You?

Last March, twenty-one second grade students at Elmwood Elementary School in Millbury received a lesson called “Eating a Rainbow taught by FSU Food and Nutrition intern, Carolyn Holland. This lesson, adapted from United Way, is intended to encourage students to eat a variety of colored fruits and vegetables by educating on the health benefits associated with eating each color.

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Elmwood Elementary students were asked to name and guess the color of a variety of fruit and vegetable riddles.

During the lesson, students were provided with fruit and vegetable riddles, and were asked to guess the name of the fruit or vegetable and its color. After determining the five colored groups, students worked to brainstorm a list of fruits and vegetables of a designated color.

After presenting their list of fruits and vegetables to the class, students were educated on the health benefits related to each. By the end of the lesson, students were able to name the five colored fruit and vegetable groups and the health benefits associated with eating fruits and vegetables of different colors. For example, when asked the question, “What color fruits or vegetables should we eat to help our brain power and memory in school?”, students responded with “Blue, black or purple!” Students were able to recognize that blue, black and purple fruits and vegetables are categorized in the same colored group, because they provide us with nutrients that help boost our brain function and memory.

The Millbury Public Schools’ Wellness Policy states the district has “a responsibility to help students and staff establish and maintain life-long healthy eating patterns” as “wellness is an essential ingredient for optimizing student performance and potential.” The policy supports “wellness, good nutrition, and regular physical activity as part of the total learning environment.”

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.

~ blog provided by Carolyn Holland, FSU Food and Nutrition Student

Milton Students are ‘Tuning In’ to the Five Food Groups

When you read, you begin with A-B-C; when you sing, you begin with Do-Re-Mi; and when children start to make healthy food choices, you begin with fruits, veggies, grains, protein, dairy!

Those five words just happen to be the basis of an April 7, 2014 MyPlate focused nutrition education lesson received by twenty-six second grade students at Glover Elementary School in Milton, MA.

During the “Healthy and Happy: Take 5!” lesson, developed and taught by graduate FSU Food and Nutrition intern Emily Saperia, students were challenged to write lyrics to a song that reflected their understanding of how each of the five food groups can keep us healthy and happy by helping us grow strong bones and muscles, giving us energy, and giving us special ‘powers’ like good night vision.

The lesson was a clear success both in terms of students’ demonstration of understanding as well as their enjoyment. By the end of the lesson, every student echoed the refrain: We can be so healthy – if we eat fruit, veggies, grains, protein, dairy! We can be so happy – if we eat fruits, veggies, grains, proteins, dairy!

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Second grade students at Glover Elementary School in Milton learned about the five food groups in a creative way – through singing.

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.

~ blog provided by Emily E. Saperia, FSU Food and Nutrition Graduate Student

West Boylston Students Say Hooray for Healthy Hydration!

A student at Major Edwards Elementary School in Boylston, MA learns about the importance of hydration.

FSU Food and Nutrition intern, Jennifer Navaroli, teaches students about the importance of hydration.

Do you know how many gallons of water are contained in our bodies? On March 24, 2014, twenty-one fourth grade students at Major Edwards Elementary School  in West Boylston learned we have approximately ten gallons of water in our bodies! Students participated in a lesson about hydration taught by FSU Food and Nutrition intern, Jennifer Navaroli. This lesson, “Healthy Hydration!”, is adapted from Water, Water, Everywhere, a lesson provided by the Nutrition Services Branch of the North Carolina Division of Public Health. “Healthy Hydration!” is intended to increase awareness regarding the importance of hydration for healthy living.

During this lesson, students investigated the crucial roles of water in the body. For example, students learned that water transports nutrients, aids in digestion, and acts as a cushion for joints. They also formulated ways to prevent and combat dehydration. Finally, students tested their hydration knowledge by correctly identifying true or false statements related to hydration.

The West Boylston Public Schools’ Wellness Policy strives to “provide a comprehensive learning environment for developing and practicing lifelong wellness behaviors.” It is important for the entire school environment to positively influence a student’s understanding and practices as they relate to sound nutrition.

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.

~ blog provided by Jennifer Navaroli, FSU Food and Nutrition Student

Hillside Elementary School Students Have Fun with MyPlate

Second grade students at Hillside Elementary School in Needham participated in a nutrition lesson focusing on MyPlate and the five food groups presented on April 7, 2014 by graduate FSU Food and Nutrition intern, Jane MacKeen.  The lesson “Smart Snacking with MyPlate” was developed to create healthy snacks for kids using 2-3 different foods from the five food groups.  The goal: to build a solid nutrition foundation for this young age group as a way to create long-term, healthy habits.

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Second grade students at Hillside Elementary School learn about MyPlate with FSU Food and Nutrition Intern Jane MacKeen.

The lesson began with discussing the MyPlate poster, including how each quadrant of the plate represented fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy and the foods found in each group.  For example, an apple is a fruit and milk is dairy.  The students then went to their desks to create their own healthy snack using a MyPlate worksheet. Their challenge: create a snack using 2-3 different foods from the five food groups. The results: great ideas including pretzels (grain) and apple slices (fruit) dipped in peanut butter (protein), and a cheese stick (protein) with whole grain crackers (grain) and grapes (fruit).  The students loved talking about their ideas. Their teacher then had them all sing, “Oh bananas are my favorite fruit” as a thank you; it was fantastic. 

Needham Public Schools’ Wellness Policy states “nutrition concepts are integrated into the curriculum and also offered via nutrition promotion as part of the school lunch program.”  Professional development and training are offered to staff, as well as collaborating with families and the community to foster children’s nutrition, healthy lifestyles and lifelong physical activity.

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.

~ blog provided by Jane MacKeen, FSU Food and Nutrition Graduate Student

Pierce Middle School Students Unmask the Media

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FSU Food and Nutrition intern Tina White teaches Milton Middle School students about food marketing to youth.

“Have you ever purchased a food or beverage because you saw an advertisement on TV, on-line or in a magazine?”  On May 5, 2014, students at Pierce Middle School in Milton, MA answered this question and more as part of a nutrition education class called Unmasking the Media: Understanding Food Advertisements, developed and taught by FSU Food and Nutrition intern, Tina White.

The students learned about why companies use advertisements, who companies market to, and common marketing strategies used by companies to sell their products.  The students watched a variety of food and beverage commercials and identified the target markets and tactics used to persuade viewers to buy the products.  They also learned that food companies may give us misleading information, such as promising better athletic performance, in order to sell their products.

By the end of the lesson, students unmasked the media and were able to use their new knowledge to interpret food advertisements in order to make informed and healthier food choices, something we should all learn to do!

The Unmasking the Media lesson falls in line with the Milton Public Schools’ Wellness Policy, which states that “the district supports a healthy environment where children learn about and participate in dietary and lifestyle practices, and discourages practices that promote unhealthy activities and messages.”

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.

~ blog provided by Tina White, FSU Food and Nutrition Graduate Student