Monthly Archives: September 2018

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