Andover High School Students Build Better Snacks with MyPlate

Andover Public Schools’ Nutrition program realizes that good nutrition and learning go hand in hand. However, convincing high school students to consume well-balanced snacks to help fuel their busy schedules can be challenging. The district’s Wellness Policy states that a healthy intake of food and nutrients is essential for students to take full advantage of the learning environment in school. In support of this policy, Framingham State University Dietetic Graduate student Meredith French taught ninth graders how to create better snacks using MyPlate in April 2018.

Examples of smarter snack options created by Andover High School students.

The lesson began by reviewing the MyPlate concept and its application to snack foods. Snacks should include items such as whole grains, low or fat-free dairy, and be comprised of two different food groups for a balanced, satiating snack.  Students were given tip-sheets with smart-snacking ideas, and then participated in a five-station activity, where each station contained six food images belonging to one food group.

In groups, students were required to classify the food items at each station as ‘smarter’ snacks or ‘sometimes’ snacks, based on their knowledge of MyPlate and using the tip sheet. For example, a smarter snack in the protein group included hummus, while a sometimes snack included fried chicken wings. Students used a worksheet to record the smarter snacks at each station and took it home for future reference when snacking.

After completing the activity, each student identified three smarter snack combinations that they would enjoy eating. Several students shared their selections with the group. Combinations included carrot sticks with hummus and low-fat cheese with whole grain crackers.

For more information on improving wellness and nutrition education in schools, visit The John Stalker Institute’s Resource Center.

Submitted by: Meredith French, Graduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program of Dietetics.

Students at Milton Public Schools Explore the Five Friendly Fuels of MyPlate

FSU Dietetic Intern, Alexandra Sanchez, introduced all third-graders at Glover and Tucker Elementary Schools to the five friendly fuels of MyPlate.

Milton Public Schools is dedicated to raising the bar for student nutrition by building better menus that meet school nutrition guidelines and promote healthy habits for lifelong nutrition and fitness practices. The Wellness Policy focuses on improving student health and sharing the message of nutrition and wellness among students and school constituents. In order to optimize nutrition education, the school’s Food Service Department has partnered with the Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program to have student dietitians provide nutrition education lessons to all Milton Public School students.

This fall, Framingham State University Dietetic Graduate Student, Alexandra Sanchez, introduced all third-graders at Glover and Tucker Elementary Schools to the five friendly fuels of MyPlate. Students learned about the importance of eating foods from the five food groups for optimal health.

Students explored the MyPlate food groups and healthy choices within each through fun, interactive activities including an “Alive with 5 Food Groups” song and a MyPlate hula hoop activity. After learning about the five friendly fuels through the song, students were given a food prop and asked to identify it and place it in the correct food group within a hula hoop MyPlate. Students also identified the five main food groups and one nutritious example from each, as well as planned a complete, balanced dinner using educational handouts such as the one shown here.

Students can use the information learned to identify the five MyPlate food groups and how to incorporate healthy choices from each into a well-balanced meal for optimal health and wellness.

Interested in including nutrition education lessons at your school? The John Stalker Institute is an excellent one-stop hub with lesson plans, handouts, and other nutrition resources from credible, knowledgeable sources to help meet the initiatives of your school’s wellness policy.

Submitted by: Alexandra Sanchez, Graduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Andover High School Students Wake-Up with Breakfast

Getting high school students to eat breakfast is important but it’s not always an easy task. The Andover Public Schools’ Wellness Policy recognizes that in order for students to take full advantage of the school learning environment, they must have a healthy intake of food and nutrients.

In November, 2017, Framingham State University Coordinated Program dietetic intern Rebecca Rand taught ninth grade health students how to “Power Up With Breakfast.” Some of the reasons for skipping breakfast included not having time, not being hungry, and that putting food in their stomach was too early in the morning.  Students who did eat breakfast shared some of the foods they eat at home or during school breakfast.  The lesson covered the importance of breakfast after not eating since the prior evening, what a breakfast trio is, and taught students how to build one.  A healthy breakfast includes foods from three of the five food groups.

FSU Dietetic intern, Rebecca Rand leading “Power Up with Breakfast” for Andover High School students.

After brainstorming as a class, each student used a worksheet to build five of their own breakfast trios, one for each day of the week.  Students also came up with some grab and go options; such as a cheese stick, yogurt, a hardboiled egg, or a piece of fruit and added them to their worksheets. Each student went home with the worksheet they created to put on their refrigerator for reference when looking for breakfast ideas.

For more information and resources on School Breakfast Programs and improving nutrition and wellness in Massachusetts schools, visit the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University Resource Center.

Submitted by: Rebecca Rand, FSU graduate Food and Nutrition student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Dedham Public Schools Explore Different Fruits and Vegetables

FSU intern, Jesse Busa, presenting “Taste the Rainbow” to Avery Middle School in Dedham, MA.

Providing students at Dedham Public Schools with nutrition education “to select a diet that supports health and reduces risk of illness and future chronic diseases” is a critical component of their wellness policy. To help achieve this goal, the district works closely with Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics to have interns bring nutrition focused learning into the classroom.

Graduate Student Dietetic Interns, Jesse Busa and Erin Anseth collaboratively presented “Taste the Rainbow” to first and second graders at the Avery Middle School throughout the month of November 2017. The focus of the lesson was to convey simple health benefits associated with each color of fruits and vegetables in addition to the role of nutrients and diet variety.

The students then used the information they learned as well as their drawing and writing skills to make their own book. The lesson ended with a quick game of fruit and vegetable freeze tag testing their ability to recall the names of different colored fruits and vegetables.

Want to bring more nutrition programs into the classroom? The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University has created lesson plans for grades K-12 – check it out! For information on school wellness initiatives and policies click here, and for other nutrition education resources please visit the JSI Resource Center.

Submitted by: Jesse Busa, Graduate Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics

Fast Food Nutrition Breakdown at Hanover High School

Hanover Public Schools’ Wellness Policy recognizes that nutrition education is essential to promote student wellness and the development of lifelong healthy habits. In support of this policy, Samantha Therrien, Graduate student of the Framingham State University Coordinated Program in Dietetics, taught ninth and tenth graders in a Wellness class at Hanover High School on Monday, December 4, 2017.

FSU intern, Samantha Therrien, leading the “Fast Food Nutrition Breakdown” at Hanover Public Schools

The lesson, Fast Food Nutrition Breakdown, began with a pre-assessment activity called cross the line to get students up and moving. During this activity, students lined up on one side of the room and were asked to cross an imaginary line in the center of the room if they agreed with the statements read aloud. This activity got students moving and thinking about nutrition as they walked back and forth in agreement with the nutrition statements being read.

Following the activity was a lecture on the nutritional content of popular fast food items including discussions about saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium. This lecture delved into some of the science of why these nutrients/ingredients are problematic when consumed in excess. During the lecture students calculated the number of teaspoons of added sugar in popular beverage choices among teens. Three volunteers were invited to the front of the room to measure out the calculated amounts of added sugars into clear cups, which were then passed around for all students to see.

Finally, students were allowed to use their phones to research the nutritional content of their favorite/typical fast food meal order, as well as healthier substitute items. After completing this activity a discussion revealed its impact. Many students were shocked to see that their fast food meals exceeded the recommended daily limits for saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium. In the final minutes of the class, students shared their ideas for healthier substitute food items when eating fast food, which included swapping water for sugary beverages and packing fruit or ordering a side salad instead of French fries.

To find other lesson plans for use in grades K-12 visit The John Stalker Institute’s Resource Center.

Submitted by: Samantha Therrien, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Dedham Public Schools Inspire Ideas for Healthy Snacks

Dedham Public Schools believes that nutrition education should be a part of the core curriculum.  According to the district’s wellness policy, the goal of nutrition education is to give students knowledge and the tools they will need to select foods that promote a healthy lifestyle.  To support this goal, Framingham State University (FSU) interns from the Coordinated Program in Dietetics taught fourth graders at Oakdale Elementary School about the importance of eating healthy snacks.

To introduce the topic, students were asked to think about their favorite athlete, and to think about what he/she eats in order to get ready for practice or a game.  Students then described which foods support health and performance and which foods do not.  All content was connected back to the students needing healthy foods to help them be successful in the classroom and on the playground.  A discussion of MyPlate and the five food groups built the basis for understanding how to build a healthy snack.

On the left, the student made “The Birthday Smoothie”. On the right, this student simply put together grapes and cheese.

For an activity,  students created their own healthy snacks using at least two components of MyPlate.  Students enthusiastically created original snacks by drawing and naming them.  Then students described the ingredients, explained how to make their snack, and came up with a marketing pitch or slogan to get consumers to want to buy their snacks.  To conclude the lesson, students eagerly shared their creations with the rest of the class!

For more resources on school wellness policies and ideas for lessons and educational materials for a variety nutrition-related health topics, visit the John C. Stalker (JSI) Resource Center and the Wellness Solution for MA websites.

Submitted by: Erin Anseth, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Andover High School Students Get the Scoop on Added Sugars in Beverages

Andover Public School’s Wellness Policy emphasizes the importance of student health and describes the district’s detailed efforts to focus on wellness. To further enhance health and wellness education, the high school’s school nutrition program partnered with dietetic students in Framingham State University’s Food and Nutrition Coordinated Program. The students presented multiple lessons to middle school and high school students that focused on the importance of nutrition and physical activity. This semester, Framingham State University Dietetic Undergraduate Student Victoria Hoover helped high school students visualize the amount of sugar in common beverages in the “Rethink Your Drink!” lesson.

FSU Dietetic Intern, Victoria Hoover, leading a “Rethink Your Drink” training for Andover High School students.

The Andover High School 9th grade health class used the nutrition facts label and worked in groups to calculate the amount of sugar, in teaspoons, in beverages like sports drinks, sodas, iced tea, chocolate milk and 100% fruit juice. The groups then filled the bottles with the correct amount of sugar and presented them at the front of the classroom.

When the activity was complete, students were taught about each drink, compared it to a bag containing the recommended amount of daily added sugar and determined if each beverage was a healthy choice or not. The students then learned about the health problems related to consuming an excess of added sugars and received suggestions for healthier drink choices. Students were given handouts to bring home to remind them to rethink their drink!

American Heart Association infographic, “Sip Smarter.”

For additional resources on sugar solutions for schools visit the JSI Resource Center for information and lesson plans on sugar, added sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

Submitted by: Victoria Hoover, Framingham State University 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.