On April 2nd, students at Vining Elementary School learned about reading the food label from Framingham State University student dietitians Tyler Carden and Caitlin Sullivan. The information presented, which can be found at Nourish Interactive and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was a basic, age-appropriate overview of the material on the food label (which included serving size, sugar, and ingredients).
The students were able to showcase their prior knowledge and experiences using the label, with one student sharing how she knew the first ingredient on the list is the “biggest part” of the food. After the lesson, students had fun looking at real empty food packages and filling out a worksheet about pertinent label information, which allowed students to become food label detectives. Many students asked for more than one product to investigate. Students had an entertaining time comparing foods, helping each other find label information, and reporting their findings in front of the class. The students, ranging from 3rd to 5th grade, are in the middle of the concrete operational stage of development, which allows for effective nutrition education due to the growing ability to learn new information, use logic, and understand new viewpoints.
The Billerica Public Schools’ Wellness Policy encourages the advancement of nutrition education throughout all grade levels to foster healthy choices and support development as students begin to develop independence. This was reflected that day in the classroom, as students eagerly filled out activity sheets, asked engaging questions, and felt proud showing their knowledge and interest in the subject.
For more information regarding educational resources for nutrition for Elementary, Middle, and High School students, please visit the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.
Submitted by Tyler Carden, Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.