South Middle School Students in Braintree Go Grocery “Shopping” for Healthy Foods

FSU graduate student in nutrition, Fred Durso, showcases two types of cereals during lesson to students at South Middle School in Braintree, Massachusetts. 

About 20 seventh graders were transformed into educated shoppers during a lesson that incorporated reading food labels and determining healthy options.

Fred Durso,  Framingham State University graduate student in nutrition, conducted an interactive lesson that had the students participate in some smart shopping. Their task: examine the Nutrition Facts Label on two types of cereals and select the brand that is more nutritious. The students from South Middle School in Braintree were first given an overview of the nutrients and subsequent amounts found in the label—particularly, calories, fat, and fiber—and why eating too much of one and not enough of the other can impact health. Then, they examined the labels on the cereals—a highly sweetened variety and an unsweetened shredded wheat—to determine the serving size of each and whether each was high in sugar, calories, fat, and fiber. 

Most students successfully determined that the shredded wheat cereal was the more nutritious option, with many of them comprehending the 5/20 Rule when reading the Nutrition Facts Label [foods with 5% or less of the % Daily Value (%DV) are low in a nutrient and foods with 20% or more of the %DV are high in a nutrient]. Since most students said they now grocery shop with their family, this exercise can help them make smarter food choices at the store whether with others or on their own. This lesson also dovetailed nicely with Braintree Public Schools’ wellness policy, as the food/nutrition department publicize nutrition information. Students would be able to review and make sense of this information. 

For more nutrition lessons for middle and high schoolers, visit the John C. Stalker Institute’s website.

By: Fred Durso, FSU Food and Nutrition graduate student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.