Serving up MyPlate in the Classroom at Needham Public Schools!

Framingham State University recently partnered up with Jen Tuttelman, Nutrition Outreach Coordinator for Needham Public Schools, and the third-grade class at Mitchell Elementary School to draw upon the Needham Public School’s district Wellness Policy and promote healthy school lunch and child nutrition.

Coordinated Program in Dietetics graduate student Justin Mayhew from Framingham State University is serving up MyPlate in the classroom.

A lesson adapted from USDA FNS, serving up MyPlate introduces the concept of a healthy balanced meal by visually showing the five foods groups and the appropriate portion sizes that should constitute each meal.

During the presentation, the third graders were asked to group common foods into each of the five food group categories and discuss how each of the food groups contribute to help them play and grow. To go even further, when given common food items found in school lunch, the third-grade class was prompted to think about how those foods fulfill a combination of the food groups.

During the last part of the lesson, when given a blank MyPlate sheet, students were asked to think about their favorite school lunch meal, or a meal that they bring from home, and draw each of the foods into their respective food group category.

By prompting the students to think about how a single meal item can fit into multiple food groups and by having them apply it to a meal that they are familiar with, it created a spark of critical thinking that progressed the students’ knowledge of MyPlate even further than from what they have already been exposed to.

Throughout the lesson, the kids were extremely excited to talk about the different foods they like to eat and appeared genuinely interested in how nutrition in each of the food groups allow them to have more energy to play and grow.

Submitted by: Justin Mayhew, Graduate student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics