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.
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.