Needham Kindergarteners Learn About Healthy Eating

Needham Public Schools provide nutrition education to all students to promote healthy food choices at home and in the school environment. They do this using social media, their school nutrition webpage and in-person lessons while implementing aspects of their wellness policy. Their goal is to serve a variety of appetizing, satisfying and nutritionally balanced meals in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. They view the school cafeteria as a nutrition education experience, where they teach by example with the delicious and healthy food choices they offer. Their Instagram page, npsnutrition, also promotes the introduction of healthy homemade recipes that are being served regularly. Recent recipes include homemade chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie, egg roll in a bowl, and a cherry apple oatmeal bake. 

Tara holding the "What's On My Plate?" booklet
Tara Murphy teaches Needham students about healthy eating.

On April 8th, 2024, Needham Public Schools partnered up with Framingham State University’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics and invited student dietitian, Tara Murphy to teach kindergarten students about eating a balanced meal including all five food groups. During this lesson, the students learned why it is important to eat a balanced meal and how it can affect learning, energy, and their muscle and bone strength. Students were taught the five food groups (protein, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables) using a discussion forum and the reading of a children’s book called, “What’s on MyPlate.”. Multiple examples of each food group were talked about during the open discussion periods with the students, which were distributed throughout the lesson. Each student was able to participate in an activity where each child was given the opportunity to “build” a well-balanced meal of their choice using all five food groups. Students demonstrated their understanding following a successful build of a well-balanced meal.

To explore more resources that can be implemented into school lesson plans, please visit The John. C Stalker Institute of Food and Nutrition resource center.

Submitted by: Tara Murphy, FSU Food and Nutrition Student Coordinated Program in Dietetics.