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.

Hanover High School Learns About Sports Nutrition

On November 26, 2018, Framingham State University student dietitians Gabriella Musto and Jennifer O’Brien presented “Exercise and Sports Performance Nutrition” to 11th and 12th graders of Hanover Public Schools. Promoting balanced nutrition and healthy habits  is vital to students and their overall health, as detailed in the district’s Wellness Policy. Reducing rates of obesity and promoting student wellness can be achieved through advocating for nutrition education and physical activity.

Gabriella Musto identifying healthier snacks for Athletes

About 81% of the students attending Hanover High School are athletes, making this presentation ideal for this population. Hanover Public School’s collaboration with Framingham State University has allowed student dietitians to educate the students on various topics related to sports nutrition. Topics such as pre- and post-workout nutrition and how to properly fuel your body with food to achieve optimal athletic performance were discussed.

Activities were used to help the students apply what was learned during the class. Students actively participated in a Kahoot quiz game and completed a worksheet titled “Give Me Energy!” where they brainstormed snacks that could be prepared as pre- or post-workout fuel. During the Q&A portion of the presentation, students were engaged in discussions and asked questions regarding various nutrition topics.

Interested in learning more about wellness and nutrition education in schools? Visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University. The JSI Resource Center and USDA have resources and information that are useful for school nutrition programs.

Submitted by: Gabriella Musto, Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Graduate Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Milton Public School Students Learn About MyPlate

Milton Public Schools are committed to incorporating nutrition education into their comprehensive health education curriculum in order to foster lifelong healthy eating behaviors into their students. The Wellness Policy reflects their strong efforts to ensuring that the schools are encouraging healthy nutrition habits and the promotion of daily physical activity.

Sara Evans educates Glover Elementary students about the 5 food groups.

Framingham State University student dietitian Sara Evans educated the Glover elementary students about the five food groups and MyPlate.

In furthering nutrition education at Milton Public Schools, Framingham State University Coordinated Program in Dietetics student dietitian visited the schools to educate the students on nutrition. On Monday, November 19th Glover Elementary welcomed Framingham State University student dietitian Sara Evans to discuss MyPlate.

The “MyPlate, Myself” presentation to the third-grade classes focused on the five food groups and how to build a healthy plate.

The students reassembled a Velcro MyPlate poster, correctly placing each food group in its designated spot, as well as placing various foods into the appropriate food groups on a separate poster. Students were then able to color in their own MyPlate and write down their two favorite foods from each food group. The students were eager to learn and participate during the presentation and expressed their increased knowledge of MyPlate and the five food groups.

For more information regarding nutrition education and amazing education resources visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University and the JSI resource center.

Submitted by: Sara Evans Framingham State University Graduate Food and Nutrition Student.

Stacy Middle School Students Learn About Protein, One of the Five Important Food Groups!

Milford Public Schools is dedicated to providing their middle school students with nutrition education and knowledge to help form lifelong healthy lifestyles. Their support and interest in providing students with the nutrition knowledge to make informed decisions about their health has allowed Milford Public Schools to create a community dedicated to the overall well-being of their students. To further promote the Milford Public School’s Wellness policy,  the school has

Jennifer Mansir teaches students about the importance of lean protein.

FSU Student Dietitian, Jennifer Mansir, teaching students about the importance of lean protein to help build strong bones, muscles, and skin.

partnered with Framingham State University and their Coordinated Program in Dietetics to provide appropriate nutrition education to their students.

Milford Public Schools welcomed student dietitian Jennifer Mansir to Stacy Middle School. Jennifer Mansir worked with sixth graders to discuss sources of protein, how protein fuels your body, and why it is important. For students, learning about protein and where it comes from is key to promoting a lifelong healthy lifestyle and diet. During the presentation, students actively participated by writing sources of protein on the white board, and later discussing how protein is found in an array of foods. Students were shocked to hear that some grains, beans, and lentils can contain a significant amount of protein. By the end of the lesson, students were able to provide a reason why protein is important for the body, list multiple sources of protein, and identify the sources of protein in their favorite foods!

Jennifer has helped to implement the Milford Public School’s Wellness Policy by teaching age appropriate content regarding healthy choices. There are a variety of resources for lesson plans available to students and educators at The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition resource center.

Submitted by: Jennifer Mansir FSU Graduate 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.

Bartlett High School Students Learn About Added Sugars in Their Favorite Beverages!

Webster Public Schools is dedicated to providing their high school students with the appropriate nutrition knowledge to help form lifelong healthy habits. Their interest and support in educating students with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their eating and exercise habits has helped to establish a community focused on the overall health and well-being of their students. To further the promotion of their health and wellness policy, Webster Public Schools has partnered with Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics to provide nutrition education specifically designed to meet the needs of their students. This fall, graduate student dietitian, Lauren Mansir presented on the amount of added sugar found in commercial beverages with a lesson titled, “Rethink Your Drink!” to senior high school students. Students learned about the risks of too much added sugar in their diet, and how to make healthy choices when choosing a beverage.

Lauren Mansir teaching students about added sugars in beverages and their effects.

FSU Student Dietitian, Lauren Mansir, teaching students about added sugars in sweetened beverages and their current and long-term effects on health.

Students became “sugar sleuths” by investigating the amount of added sugar in common commercial beverages and learned how to read the ingredient list and the nutrition facts label. During the presentation, students actively participated in discussions about how excess sugar in the diet can lead to the development of diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, while also learning to consume their favorite sugary beverages in moderation. A blind taste test was performed by having students taste two infused waters with no added sugar (Strawberry Lemonade and Blueberry Orange) compared to the same flavor of a commonly consumed sports drink containing added sugar to show that natural sweetness is just as sweet and sometimes sweeter! By the end of the lesson, students were excited to share their knowledge with friends and family, and try new infused water recipes on their own!

For more information regarding added sugars and for more health promotion resources, please visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.

Submitted By: Lauren Mansir, Food and Nutrition Student in the FSU Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Snack Like a Champion in Dedham

Michela Rici teaches students importance of getting nutrients from all five food groups.

Michela Ricci, Student Dietitian from Framingham State University, educating students on the importance of getting nutrients from all five food groups. Michela Ricci, Student Dietitian from Framingham State University, educating students on the importance of getting nutrients from all five food groups.

In the Fall of 2018, Framingham State University graduate student Michela Ricci taught third grade students at Oakdale Elementary School in Dedham, MA.
She taught the students about the various health benefits that one could get from different fruits and vegetables through a lesson titled “You Be the Chef”. Dedham Public School’s Wellness Policy highlights that the schools should strive to provide the highest quality food while also “encouraging the consumption of nutrient dense foods, i.e. whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products.”

During the “You Be the Chef” lesson, students learned about the five food groups and examples of foods from each of these groups. The students learned what a nutrient was and the importance of consuming a variety of nutrients in their diet. After this, the students completed the USDA’s “Snack of Champions” worksheet, where they were challenged to pretend they were professional chefs for a U.S.

Students create own balance snack recipes using USDA activity sheet.

Students created their own balanced snack recipes utilizing the USDA’s “Snack of Champions” activity sheet.

Olympic team. They were asked to create a delicious and balanced snack, which included three out of the five food groups.  After they created their snacks they were able to share their ideas with their classmates.

Teaching children at a young age about the importance of eating healthy meals and snacks that incorporate a variety of foods from all the food groups is critical to their long-term health and development.  Dedham students enjoyed the activities and were enthusiastic about getting to create and name their own snacks.

For more information regarding educational resources for nutrition for elementary, middle, and high school students in Massachusetts, please visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.

Submitted by: Michela Ricci, Framingham State University Graduate Food and Nutrition Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Hanover High School Student Athletes Fuel Up with Nutrition Education

Hanover Public Schools believes that a sound athletic program is an integral part of education, and is committed to students’ participation in athletics and physical education.

Jennifer O'Brien provides performance nutrition education to 11th and 12th grade students at Hanover High School

FSU student dietitian, Jennifer O’Brien, provides performance nutrition education to 11th and 12th grade students at Hanover High School.

Hanover Public Schools Wellness Policy acknowledges that good health depends on the development of lifelong habits that promote student wellness and reduce obesity, which can be achieved through nutrition education and physical activity. In order to achieve these goals, the district collaborates with the Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Program to bring in nutrition interns who provide nutrition education on various topics, like sports and performance nutrition, to students.

USDA's "Give Me Energy" activity worksheet was used during Eat for Performance nutrition lesson.

“Give Me Energy” activity worksheet completed by students during the Eat for Performance nutrition lesson.

On November 26th, student dietitians, Jennifer O’Brien and Gabriella Musto, provided performance nutrition education to 11th and 12th grade student athletes as part of a newly offered wellness and lifestyle skills course. Students spent time learning about the importance of pre- and post-exercise nutrition, and the benefits to eating well for improved athletic performance.
During the presentation, students were asked to share healthy snack ideas aloud with classmates and participated in a fun, interactive Kahoot! style quiz to test their knowledge. At the end of the presentation students completed USDA’s “Give Me Energy!” activity, where they chose a week’s worth of healthy snacks that coincided with their chosen physical activity for the day. Students showed their enthusiasm and interest at the conclusion of the presentation during a brief nutrition question and answer period.

If you are interested in learning more on how you can help improve wellness and nutrition education in schools, please visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University’s JSI Resource Center or USDA Team Nutrition for helpful tools and resources.

Submitted by: Jennifer O’Brien, Framingham State University Food and Nutrition Graduate Student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.