Category Archives: Nutrition Education

Oakdale Elementary Students Have Fun with Food Groups

Dedham Public Schools believe that good nutrition and physical activity are key components to a healthy lifestyle.  According to the district’s wellness policy, nutrition education is taught to instill the knowledge and skills to eat a healthy diet and reduce the risk of illness and chronic disease.  To further enhance their students’ nutrition education, the Food and Nutrition Services Department has partnered with student dietetic interns from Framingham State University’s Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program.

FSU Dietetic intern, Jaime Levesque, presenting the “Fun with Food Groups” lesson at Oakdale Elementary School.

Throughout the month of April, Graduate Student Dietetic Intern, Jaime Levesque taught the importance of eating a balanced meal that incorporates foods from each of the five food groups to students in 1st through 3rd grade at the Oakdale Elementary School.  During the “Fun with Food Groups” lesson, students were introduced to MyPlate and led in a discussion about the five food groups and the nutritional benefits of each.  During the activity, each student was given a food model to place into the correct food group at the front of the class.  During the second part of the lesson, students identified the food group components of their favorite meal which was then drawn out on a paper tray and shared with other students in the class.  When the lesson ended, students were given handouts from Nourish Interactive to encourage them to incorporate a component from each food group into their meals at home and at school.  Students had a great time with the food models and learning about how each food group helps to maintain a healthy body.

For additional resources and lesson plans that can be used to bring nutrition education to the classroom, visit the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.

Submitted by: Jaime Levesque, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Healthy Choices, Healthy Lifestyles at Milford Public Schools

Milford Public Schools welcomed student dietitian Danielle Allen to Memorial Elementary School.  Danielle Allen worked with second graders to discuss how foods fuel your body and why physical activity is important. For students, learning about a healthy diet and the importance of physical activity is important to promote lifelong healthy lifestyles. They learned how to find a pulse on your neck and wrists. The students checked pulses while they were calm and sitting. Afterwards it was time to get moving! The students had fun imagining they were chasing a dog around the yard. When they finally caught the pretend dog, the students noticed how their heart was beating faster. They learned about how your heart has to work harder when you are active.  Children should keep their body moving for 60 minutes every day!

Danielle Allen demonstrates taking her pulse.

Students talked about how eating the right food is important in order to stay active. Students were excited to share some favorite fruits and vegetables.  By the end of the lesson, students were able to talk about why eating a healthy diet is important to keep your body moving.  Students listed fruits, vegetables, and protein as some fuel sources for your body.

Danielle has helped implement the Milford Public School’s Wellness policy by teaching age appropriate content regarding healthy choices. There are many resources for lesson plans for students available at the John Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition resource center. More information regarding nutrition for children is available at the’s children’s section.

Submitted by Danielle Allen, FSU Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Improving Nutrition from Elementary School to the College Campus

Dedham Public Schools are committed to promoting and protecting lifelong health and a positive learning environment for students. The district has recently adapted their Wellness Policy to focus on improving student health through nutrition and physical activity.  The policy provides applicable methods to help families, teachers, and the food service department better integrate health lessons into everyday life. In order to optimize nutrition education, the school’s Food Service Department has partnered with the Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program.

This spring, Framingham State University’s Dietetic Graduate Student Olivia Weinstein introduced first and third graders from Oakland Elementary School to an array of fruits and vegetables. Students learned about the importance of eating the colors of the rainbow to enhance their health.  Students had the opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables during the “Make a Rainbow” activity, in which students created rainbows by adding pieces of produce to a wooden skewer.

Olivia Weinstein, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student.

In addition, Weinstein taught a high school Women’s Health Class about added sugar and how to identify it on a food label.  Using a mystery scenario, students investigated numerous food labels to calculate a character’s daily added-sugar consumption. Weinstein took the lesson a step further and gave the students tools to navigate campus dining in anticipation of attending college.  Using materials found on MyPlate, students gained a better understanding of a healthy breakfast and how to order healthy foods at coffee shops and other food institutions.  One student commented that she now feels that she “knows what to order when she is on her way to school or on her way to soccer practice.”

Interested in including nutrition education lessons at your school? The John Stalker Institute is an excellent resource for lesson plans, handouts, and other nutrition resources to help meet the initiatives of your school’s wellness policy.

Submitted by: Olivia Weinstein FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics

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.