Monthly Archives: May 2018

Webster Elementary School Students Rethink Their Drinks

The Webster Public School district is committed to promoting and protecting children’s health, well-being, and ability to learn by supporting healthy eating and physical activity. To help support this goal, Framingham State University (FSU) dietetic intern, Karen O’Hare, presented Rethink Your Drink! to the third and fourth graders at Park Ave Elementary School in March and

FSU dietetic intern, Karen O’Hare (right), leading a Rethink Your Drink! lesson for Park Ave Elementary School students.

April 2018. This interactive lesson helped students visualize the amount of sugar in common sugar-sweetened beverages.

The third and fourth grade gym classes learned the difference between natural and added sugars, how to locate sugar on the nutrition facts label, and how to calculate the amount of sugar, in teaspoons, in a beverage. Then, students worked in groups to determine the amount of sugar in beverages such as chocolate milk, sweetened iced tea, soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and energy drinks.

Once the activity was complete, the groups shared their findings with the class. The students were surprised to learn that some of their favorite beverages far exceed the amount of added sugar recommended for children. For example, a 20-ounce bottle of a popular lemonade drink has 17 teaspoons of sugar compared to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendation that children should limit added sugar to 6 teaspoons per day!

AHA infographic, “Healthy Kids are Sweet Enough.”

For more resources on sugar solutions for schools, visit the JSI Resource Center for additional information and lesson plans on sugar, added sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

Submitted by: Karen O’Hare,  FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Serving Up MyPlate at Webster Public Schools

FSU Student Dietitian, Tori Leger, leading the “Serving Up MyPlate” lesson to fourth graders at Park Avenue Elementary School.

The Webster Public School District is dedicated to promoting the overall health and well-being of their K-12 students, particularly by supporting the development and maintenance of healthy eating and exercise habits. To further teach, encourage, and foster balanced nutrition and physical activity among students, Webster Public Schools have teamed up with Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics. Through this partnership, student dietitians develop and implement nutrition education lessons based on the interests and needs of Webster Public School students.

During the months of March and April 2018, Graduate Student Dietitian Tori Leger presented “Serving Up MyPlate” to fourth grade students at Park Avenue Elementary School. Students learned about the five main food groups, contents of each food group, and the importance of combining foods from all five food groups to create healthy, balanced meals that contain a variety of nutrients.

Students were provided with paper plates and colored pencils, and were encouraged to draw their own MyPlate. During this interactive coloring activity, students brainstormed foods that could fit into the five food groups and discussed how a complete meal could be created from these food items.  In addition, the composition of school lunch was discussed in terms of the MyPlate model to expand understanding of current dietary recommendations. Students were encouraged to try and incorporate at least three of the five food groups into each meal to get a variety of beneficial nutrients every day. By the end of the lesson, the students were excited to take their drawings home and begin practicing the MyPlate method!

To learn more about incorporating nutrition education into the classroom for K-12 students, visit The John Stalker Institute Resource Center.

Submitted by: Tori Leger, Graduate Student Dietitian, Framingham State University Coordinated Program in Dietetics

The Milton Public School’s Girls Athletic Teams are Fueled for Success!

Milton Public Schools, in Milton, MA has an extensive Wellness Policy which includes the promotion of healthy nutrition habits and daily physical activity.  In keeping with this goal, the district welcomes dietetic interns from Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics each semester.  The interns share their nutrition knowledge with students at all levels across the district.

Johanna Cohan, FSU graduate Food and Nutrition student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics teaching athletes how to fuel up for top performance.

This spring, the Milton High School girl’s lacrosse and track and field teams benefitted from this alliance with a lesson entitled “Fuel Up for Top Performance in Athletics and Life.”  During this lesson, Johanna Cohan, Framingham State graduate student, exposed the athletes to proper fueling techniques for top performance in games and meets.


The lesson allowed the girls to see how adequate fueling actually begins long before the event; typically, 24 hours prior, and doesn’t end until hours after the event.  This fueling method sets athletes up with sufficient energy stores for their event and for the next day’s work out.  During the lesson, the athletes brainstormed fueling strategies and a timeline to allow the entire group to learn some new ideas from their teammates.

Following the presentation, the athletes took part in a “Family Feud” style game, testing their sports fueling knowledge.  Their competitive edge was on display, as they showed that they were on their way to proper fueling for athletics and life.

It’s easy to add nutrition education into your daily lesson plans. You can find success stories from teachers who have done so at the Wellness Solutions blog.  There are many ideas to get you started at the John Stalker Institute website.  Make fueling for life a priority in your classroom.

Submitted by: Johanna Cohan, FSU graduate Food and Nutrition student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics


Milton Public Schools Race to Healthy Eating with MyPlate

Milton Public Schools (MPS) view nutrition education as an important component to student learning. As outlined in the school’s wellness policy, nutrition education is designed to foster lifelong healthy eating behaviors and to reduce incidence of obesity.  One way the school incorporates nutrition education is through a partnership with Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics.  Dietetic interns design and teach a variety of nutrition classes to elementary, middle and high school students.  In an effort to start all students off with a strong nutrition foundation, dietetic interns teach all MPS third grade students the MyPlate basics.

Katie Badger, Graduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics educating students about MyPlate.

This spring, Framingham State University Dietetic Graduate Student Katie Badger, introduced third graders at Collicot and Cunningham Elementary School to MyPlate through a lesson called MyPlate – A Race to Healthy Eating. Launched with a dance party to the “Alive with Five” song, the interactive lesson plan highlighted the importance of physical activity.  A PowerPoint presentation provided visuals for the students as they learned about the benefit of each food group.  As students eagerly shared their favorite foods from each group, a list was generated on the blank MyPlate poster shown here. Students then demonstrated what they had learned during a team relay.  Using a plate and laminated food and exercise pictures, each team raced to assemble a complete meal, including a form of exercise. This fun and interactive nutrition lesson taught students the importance of eating food from all five food groups and highlighted the importance of being active for at least 60 minutes every day. 

Nutrition education lessons can take on many forms and be adapted for any age group. But there is no need to reinvent the wheel.  A variety of lesson plans, handouts and other nutrition resources are available on the The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition website.

Submitted by: Katie Badger, Graduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics


Framingham High School Students Take on the New Nutrition Label

It’s important to give high school students the right tools to select foods that promote a healthy lifestyle. The Framingham Public Schools’ Wellness Policy also recognizes the importance of health and wellness, especially for students to take full advantage of their education.

In April 2017, Framingham State University Coordinated Program intern, Jaquelyn Litwak, taught high school “Foods 1” students about updates to the Nutrition Facts Label, which is set to be implemented by 2020. After discussing what students should look for on a nutrition label, Jacquelyn discussed major differences to the new nutrition labels, notably regarding fat and

Jaquelyn Litwak, FSU Food and Nutrition Student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics, teaching about the Nutrition Facts Label.

added sugar. Students also reported how often they drink sugar-sweetened beverages and desserts. Next, the group discussed the differences among the three types of fat and compared natural sugars to added sugars. Finally, students were presented with information about the potential health consequences of consuming too much saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars.

After the interactive lesson on the new nutrition label, students worked in groups and played Jeopardy to test their knowledge on the discussion and general nutrition. Providing students with up-to-date information on nutrition empowers them up to make healthy choices more often as they continue to grow and succeed. Framingham Public Schools provides students with nutrition information about the food served, so students can make informed meal choices.

To find other lesson plans for use in grades K-12 visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.

Submitted by: Jaquelyn Litwak, FSU Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.