“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.

Avery Elementary School Students Learn About Sometimes Foods and Switcheroos

Dedham Public Schools is dedicated to promoting lifelong, sound nutrition practices to their students. In striving to provide students with the nutrition knowledge to make healthier decisions in their diets, Dedham Public Schools has created a community dedicated to improving the well-being of their students. In efforts to enforce the Dedham Public School Wellness Policy and the school nutrition program, the district has partnered with Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics to provide nutrition education to their students.

FSU Student Dietitian, Sarah Veber, teaching students about the five food groups, “sometimes foods”, and “switcheroos”.

FSU Student Dietitian, Sarah Veber, teaching students about the five food groups, “sometimes foods”, and “switcheroos”.

Dedham Public Schools welcomed student dietitian Sarah Veber to Avery Elementary School. Sarah Veber worked with elementary school students to discuss “sometimes foods”, or foods that should only be eaten sometimes, and “switcheroos”, or healthy food options that can be switched instead of a “sometimes food”. For students, learning about what foods can be eaten daily to help grow strong and healthy versus what foods should only be eaten sometimes and in moderation is essential for promoting a lifelong healthy diet.

During the presentation, students actively participated by organizing food models into the correct food group, discussing what kinds of foods should only be eaten sometimes and why, and completing a worksheet on “sometimes” foods and “switcheroos”. After the lesson, students were able to understand that sugary foods and foods high in solid fat should not be eaten every day, but may be eaten in moderation. Sarah has helped to implement the Dedham Public School’s Wellness Policy by educating the district’s students on age-appropriate nutrition topics. Resources used for these lesson plans along with many other resources are available to students and educators at The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition resource center.

Submitted by: Sarah Veber, FSU Food and Nutrition Student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Hopkinton Middle School Students Learn to Ditch the Fizz!

Hopkinton Public Schools partnered with Framingham State University (FSU) for the first time this spring to connect graduate and undergraduate nutrition students with elementary, middle, and high school students in Hopkinton for nutrition education opportunities.  Hopkinton Public Schools, as detailed in their Wellness PolicyFood Service and Nutrition Departmentis dedicated to comprehensive and continuous health and nutrition education for all their students.  To help in reaching this goal, they have brought in student dietitians from FSU to talk about important topics that are relevant to their students.  Shane Toman, a graduate nutrition student, came in to teach students about various nutrition topics.  One of these was “Ditch the Fizz,” a lesson for 6th graders about making educated drink choices based on their sugar content.

FSU graduate student dietitian, Shane Toman, teaching 6th graders how to calculate the teaspoons of sugar in their drinks based on the nutrition facts label.

Students learned about the health effects of added sugar and empty calories and the need for other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They investigated the nutrition facts label on various drinks, such as sodas, milkshakes, and juices, and figured out how to determine the serving size and the amount of sugar per serving.  They also participated in an activity where they calculated the teaspoons of sugar in each drink based on the grams on the label and were able to visualize just how much sugar can be found in everyday drinks!

For more information and nutrition education resources, please visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center of Framingham State University.

Submitted By: Shane Toman, Graduate Food and Nutrition Student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at FSU.

Sixth Graders at Hopkinton Middle School Learn How to Ditch the Fizz!

On April 22nd, 2019, Framingham State University dietetic student Melissa Sybertz met with a sixth grade health class in the Hopkinton Public School District and provided education regarding added sugars in beverages. As noted in the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as MyPlate, limiting added sugars in the diet should be part of a healthy lifestyle. Encouraging healthy eating at a young age will help reduce risk of illness and chronic disease as outlined in the district’s Wellness Policy.

FSU undergraduate student, Melissa Sybertz, discussed added sugars in beverages.

Melissa discussed added sugars and taught students how to identify alternative names for added sugars found on the ingredient list of the food label.

Students were also educated on how to convert the grams of sugar found on the food label to teaspoons of sugar. After, the students were given nutrition facts labels of various drinks and used this new skill to calculate teaspoons of sugar in their respective drinks. With this information, they then lined up sugar packets to show how much sugar were their assigned beverages. Students were bewildered by the amount of added sugar in these drinks and discussed their concerns as a group.

For more information concerning added sugars and other resources that promote lifelong health, please visit The John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition’s Resource Center.

Submitted by: Melissa Sybertz; FSU Food and Nutrition student, Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Milton Third Graders Learn about MyPlate and the Five Food Groups!

Framingham State University student dietitian Rachael Cross educated the Cunningham elementary students about the MyPlate.

Milton Public Schools (MPS) is dedicated to providing a solid foundation of nutrition knowledge to foster healthy lifestyles for their students as they learn and grow. This endeavor to encourage a healthier student body is mirrored in the district’s Wellness Policy, which provides the framework  necessary to actively promote physical education, nutrition education, and much more. Student dietitians from the Framingham State University Coordinated Program in Dietetics visit the MPS schools each semester to provide comprehensive, evidence-based nutrition education to students. This partnership allows the future dietitians to gain experience while passing their wealth of healthy knowledge onto the next generation.

On Monday, April 1st Cunningham Elementary welcomed student dietitian Rachael Cross to discuss MyPlate. The “Foods on MyPlate,” lesson for third graders centered on the five food groups and the many ways students can build their own healthy plates. After a review of the food groups, students each received a food card and were asked to identify which group they belonged to. As each food group was discussed, students were encouraged to move and engage in fun physical activities. After this first activity, students were invited to create their own MyPlate, featuring a favorite meal, and share with the class. The students were fast and engaged learners, and with their increased knowledge were able to form delicious and complete meals to share with their classmates!

A third-grade student example of a complete MyPlate meal

For more information regarding nutrition education, professional development for school nutrition professionals, and a wealth of other resources that fit your needs, visit the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University’s resource page. Also, visit the MPS foodservice and nutrition webpage to stay up to date on all their menus, policies, and educational endeavors.

Submitted by: Rachael Cross, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.


Maynard Public Schools Learns About Intuitive Eating

At Maynard Public Schools, school nutrition is vital to student success. The district’s  Wellness Policy details the drive for promoting health, wellness, and nutrition education from the cafeteria to the classroom, as demonstrated by the School Nutrition Department. Partnering with Framingham State University, Food and Nutrition students teach nutrition lessons to students from Elementary to High School. While great practice for FSU students, Maynard schools also receive carefully designed nutrition lessons delivered straight to their classrooms.

On April 1, 2019, Graduate Nutrition Student Tori Hartford led a discussion concerning our relationship with food and intuitive eating through a lesson called “Body Talk:  A Lesson in Mindful Eating”. For students in 8th grade, food choices are becoming more autonomic as they gain independence and begin their teenage years. It is crucial students be equipped with the correct knowledge to make their own decisions, especially as social media, which is not always a reliable resource, tends to holds significant influence among this population.


“Body Talk” was designed for this age group and geared towards addressing aspects like how our bodies, peers, and environment affect the food decisions we make.Students also participated in a mindful eating exercise in which, through an instructor-guided practice, they critically analyzed the internal and external cues at play while eating a piece of chocolate.

A preview of the internal and external cues related to food choices.

A preview of the internal and external cues related to food choices.

Though an exaggerated form of what mindful eating may look like in everyday life, students reported enjoying the exercise and felt it improved their comprehension of the topic by not only discussing the cues around food, but giving them an opportunity to experience those cues in real-time.

Looking for more nutrition education resources for your own classroom? Check out the tips and tools available at the John C. Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition at Framingham State University and the JSI Resource Center.


Submitted by Tori Hartford, FSU Graduate Food and Nutrition Student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics

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.