Category Archives: Uncategorized

Webster Public School Students Learn the Science and Nutrition of Kale

In line with the Webster Public School’s Wellness Policy, the food service department aims to teach, encourage, and support healthy eating by students.   As a recipient of the USDA Farm to School grant the district can integrate agricultural education into the classroom through locally grown and seasonal foods.  To help support this goal, Framingham State University (FSU) student dietitian, Shanna Fontaine created and presented a nutrition education lesson, Kale-atomy, based on the anatomy of November’s Mass Harvest of the Month to the third graders at Park Ave Elementary School in November, 2018.

Dinosaur Kale rubbing, created and labeled by third-grade student at Webster’s Park Ave Elementary School.

This investigative lesson helped students become familiar with the vegetable kale, which some students have never heard of before.

The third-grade library class participated in a True and False activity to identify kale’s plant family, number of varieties, years of existence, and harvest properties.  After learning of the background, each student received a kale leaf, made a leaf rubbing, and as a class labeled each part of the kale leaf.

Shanna Fontaine, Student Dietitian, leading a group activity, labeling parts of our bodies that are similar to parts of kale

Once the activity was complete, the students were surprised to learn that kale leaves are like parts of the human body.  For each part of the kale leaf, the student learned of a structure of the human body that is similar, along with the vitamins or minerals found in kale that help keep that part of the body healthy.  For example, the stem is like our bones, which helps support our body and the mineral calcium is found in kale that helps support our bones.

Seeking more resources on farm and sea to school? Visit the JSI Resource Center for additional information and lesson plans to help integrate Harvest of the Month education into your district’s nutrition education.

Submitted by: Shanna Fontaine,  FSU Undergraduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Third Graders at Dedham’s Oakdale Elementary School Taste the Rainbow

The Dedham Public School district is dedicated to their Wellness Policy and strives to provide students with both the knowledge and ability to make dietary decisions to sustain a healthy lifestyle using a comprehensive approach.

Kiara Brown educated 3rd grade students about the importance of a colorful diet.

FSU graduate student dietitian Kiara Brown educated 3rd graders at Oakdale Elementary School about the importance of eating a colorful diet by taste testing some unique fruits and vegetables.

To adhere to their policy, Dedham integrates nutrition education into curriculum at all grade levels and holds activities involved in meal service and physical education, that facilitate long term health, well-being, and the ability to learn. The School Nutrition department has partnered with Framingham State University’s Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program in Dietetics to allow student dietitians the opportunity to provide nutrition lessons to Dedham Public School students.

This November, Framingham State University dietetic graduate student, Kiara Brown, met with third graders in the Oakdale Elementary School and shared messages about the benefits of consuming a varied diet. The idea of a varied diet is supported in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provides dietary and physical activity recommendations for Americans with the goal of health maintenance and chronic disease prevention throughout one’s life.

The activity was part of a lesson focused on recognizing the role of food in keeping our body healthy and fueled. The class then learned about the nutrients in different color foods and their specific roles in our bodies. Next, third graders poked, smelled, and tasted three colorful foods: pomegranate, avocado and star fruit. Students also identified the function that food has in keeping them healthy and discussed how they could incorporate more colors in their meals at home. Students enjoyed interacting with the food samples and were excited to learn about the different jobs their favorite fruits and vegetables have in their body.

To explore more nutrition education resources and get inspired with ways to improve nutrition education in Massachusetts, visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University’s JSI Resource Center.

Submitted by: Kiara Brown; FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Students at Framingham Public Schools Learn the Five Fantastic Food Groups from MyPlate

Framingham Public School is dedicated to providing nutritious healthy meals that meet school nutrition guidelines and promote healthy habits for continued lifelong nutrition and fitness

FSU dietetic intern, Valerie Thibaud educated the Potter Rd third grade students about the five fantastic food groups from MyPlate.

practices. The Wellness Policy focuses on improving student health and sharing the message of nutrition and wellness among students and teachers. In order to optimize nutrition education, the school’s health department has partnered with the Framingham State University of Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program to have student dietitians provide nutrition lessons to Framingham Public School students.

This spring, Framingham State University Dietetic Undergraduate student, Valerie Thibaud introduced third graders at Potter Rd Elementary School to the five food groups from MyPlate.  Students learned the importance of eating foods from the five food groups to stay healthy.

Students explored the MyPlate food groups by creating a meal and snack using the MyPlate structure. After learning about the five fantastic food groups students were asked to provide examples of foods from each group. Students then identified a nutritious example from each food groups to make a balanced meal using activity sheets such as the one shown below. Students responded well to this lesson and stated they would use what they learned at home. They enjoyed making a meal and snack and were excited to know they could use this whenever they help with making meals or snacks.

Students identified a nutritious example from each food group to make a balanced meal using this activity sheet.

For more information and resources on nutrition education lessons and improving nutrition and wellness in Massachusetts, visit the John C Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University’s JSI Resource Center.

Submitted by: Valerie Thibaud, FSU Undergraduate Food and Nutrition student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Hanover High School Students Become Breakfast Savvy

Framingham State University dietetic intern Ashley Petrie presenting Fuel Up with Breakfast at Hanover High School.

On Monday, November 27, 2017, Framingham State University dietetic intern Ashley Petrie presented Fuel Up with Breakfast to the ninth and tenth grade students at Hanover High School. The interactive lesson covered the importance of eating breakfast every day and the basics of how to build a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. Participants learned aboutwhy teens should eat breakfast every day, how to create their own well-balanced breakfast using MyPlate, and how to find healthy breakfast recipes online using non-traditional breakfast ingredients.

The interns from the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at Framingham State University have a unique opportunity to promote the nutrition education efforts of their assigned school districts. Hanover Public School’s Wellness Policy recognizes the role that nutrition education plays in the development of good lifelong health habits by their students. The collaborative effort between Hanover High School’s Physical Education/Wellness Department and FSU dietetic intern Ashley Petrie brought the ninth and tenth grade students a much needed lesson on healthy breakfast habits.

To learn more about how to create a healthy, well-balanced breakfast, check out MyPlate and the JSI Resource Center. Additionally, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides important information on why teens should be eating breakfast every day.

Submitted by: Ashley Petrie, FSU Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Natick Public Schools Learn the Ins and Outs of Food Nutrition Labels

Natick Public School’s Wellness Policy acknowledges the district’s responsibility to help students learn, establish and maintain life-long healthy eating and activity patterns and this is why the school’s  Food Service department has partnered with the Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program to provide nutrition education lessons to Natick students. This spring, Framingham State University Dietetic Graduate Student Annette Quatrano put the Wilson Middle School students’ mathematical skills to the test by challenging them to analyze the nutrition facts label of Spicy Cheese-Flavored Puffs while completing this ‘Learn the Label’ handout below created by the USDA.

Students also received food labels for similar snack items such as cookies and chips and worked together to determine the healthier choice.

Once that was complete, Framingham State University student Anna Casaceli made students more ‘Ad Savy’, by teaching them how food marketing in the media can influence food choices. Students received popular magazines and critiqued the messages provided in food advertisements.

Students can hopefully use this information learned from these dietetic students to avoid falling for food advertisements, but instead reading the nutrition facts label to genuinely make healthier choices!

Interested in including nutrition education lessons at your school? The John Stalker Institute provides curricula, lesson plans, and other classroom resources on nutrition on the Lessons for Grades K-12 page and is an excellent resource to help meet the initiatives of your school’s wellness policy.



Submitted by: Annette Quatrano, Graduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Andover Public High School Dives into Rethinking Their Drinks

Introducing the concept of healthy eating is imperative to do at a young age. On both April 3rd and April 10th 2017, the Framingham State University Coordinated Program dietetic interns taught a ‘Rethink Your Drink’ lesson to each of the freshman health classes at Andover Public High School, to enhance the students’ knowledge about their beverage choices.

According to the Health Education portion of their Wellness Policy, Andover strives to “emphasize learning and practicing the skills students need for healthful living”. This lesson, presented by the interns, tested the students’ knowledge about sugar-sweetened beverages. The interns reviewed the ‘5 C’s of Sugar Sweetened Beverages’, which include increase risk for cavities, lack of content, empty calories, calcium losses and caffeine – all things that, although not ideal for health, sugar-sweetened beverages provide. Students were encouraged to think about the beverages that they drink on a daily basis and completed a label reading activity in which they looked at beverages sold in the school cafeteria and evaluated the total sugar as well as practiced converting the grams of sugar to teaspoons of sugar.

During the lesson the students also completed an activity where they had to work together to rank 8 beverages (as pictured left) in order from least sugar to most sugar. As a visual tool, the interns showed students packets of sugar strips (as pictured above) which represented the tablespoons of sugar in the beverages. None of the classes were able to correctly rank the beverages, and most students were surprised by the order.

Although the students did not enter the classroom on April 3rd and April 10th as nutrition experts, by the time the lesson was over students were made aware of the types of beverages that are typically highest in sugar. Post-evaluation quizzes were graded – 85% of the students were able to list 2 negative health effects of excess sugar consumption and throughout the presentation, as the Wellness Policy strives to do, students were “encourage[d] … to assess their personal behaviors and habits”.

For educational materials about nutrition-related health topics, visit the JSI Resource Center for lessons geared towards Elementary, Middle, and High Schools.

Submitted by: Amanda Vallee, Undergraduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Dedham Public Schools Learns About The Power of Local Food


Dedham Public Schools believe that good nutrition and learning go hand in hand. The district strives to uphold its belief along with the values in its wellness policy by incorporating nutrition education in the classroom with the help of  Dietetic Interns from Framingham State University.  

On April 10th, 2017, Mariya Stephenson, together with fellow interns Kelly Thomson and Mike Niejaldik, presented a lesson titled “Zip Code Unknown – The Power of the Local” to a group of twenty high school students. The lesson focused on the benefits of eating seasonal and local, and the impact on human health, environment and sustainability.

Handout from the lesson titled “Zip Code Unknown – The Power of the Local”

During the lesson, students enjoyed a few short films by fervent food advocates, including the renown journalist Michael Pollan, followed by discussions on how far does food travel, what constitutes local and seasonal food, why is it beneficial, and where could it be purchased. They also took part in calculating the amount of gas used and CO2 emitted based on the travel distance of a given produce, as well as in creating a Massachusetts Seasonal Fruit and Veggie calendar, while conferring  with the Seasonal Food Guide by the Grace Communication Foundation. By the end of the presentation all students were all able to describe at least two benefits of eating locally, and named at least three fruit and vegetables grown in Massachusetts during the summer. More importantly, they felt empowered to make more educated choices when it comes to local and seasonal products.

For more information on wellness policies and  how to incorporate nutrition education into your school visit the Lessons for Grades K-12 and School Wellness Initiatives and Policies pages in the John C. Stalker Institute (JSI) Resource Center, and the Wellness Solution for Massachusetts. JSI offers many different professional development options for school nutrition professionals.

Submitted by: Mariya Stephenson, FSU Food and Nutrition Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics

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