Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dedham High School Students Learn the Facts on Fad Diets

Dedham Public Schools is committed to students’ health, well-being and their ability to learn by promoting healthy habits for lifelong nutrition and fitness practices. Nutrition education and resources are provided by Dedham Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services, including recipes, nutrition information for students and parents, and the district’s wellness policy.

On November 18, 2019, Framingham State University student dietitian Carly Gaffney helped the district further promote nutrition education in the classroom by teaching a nutrition lesson to 10th grade students at Dedham High School.

Carly led students through a lesson about Fad Diets, explaining the dangers of following different fad diets and how they may impact health. Students were taught how to identify a fad diet and why these diets do not support a healthy lifestyle. Through independent research, students also discovered potential side effects of following a fad diet. Carly then guided students through the importance of following a balanced diet by utilizing MyPlate and students were given further recommendations and resources to support adolescent health.

For additional nutrition education resources, visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition Resource Center.

“Andover High Schoolers Re-think Their Drinks”

Andover High School promotes nutrition education through initiatives set forth by their wellness policy; the goal of which is to set students up with life-long healthy habits by providing a nutritious food environment, and incorporating nutrition education into the health curriculum.

In an effort to further the nutrition education provided within the school system, Andover Public Schools has partnered with the  Framingham State Coordinated Program in Dietetics to provide health classrooms with lessons created, and directed by student dietitians.

Framingham graduate student/student dietitian Tim Boykov educating Andover High-schoolers on added sugars

One such lesson was led by student dietitian, Tim Boykov, on April 8th; a class of 9th graders was taught about hidden sugars in their drinks, how to quantify added sugar, and alternative drink choices. Students were able to practice their new skills by converting the grams of added sugar on the nutrition label of popular drinks into teaspoons. Students were surprised to learn how much sugar was hidden in drinks that some of them consume on a daily basis, along with how many calories are associated with those few extra teaspoons of sugar. Students also learned the recommended upper limit of sugar consumption per day according to the American Heart Association.

Additional nutrition education resources from the John Stalker Institute, similar to those used in Tim’s lessons, can be found here.

Submitted by: Tim Boykov, FSU Graduate student in the  Framingham State 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