Norton Schools Prioritize Nutrition with “Tasty Tidbits”

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INTERRUPTOR

July 8, 2024

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Healthy eating and living a balanced lifestyle are priorities of the Norton Public Schools’ Wellness Policy. So, when Norton’s Wellness Committee participated in the Massachusetts School Wellness Coaching Program (MSWCP) during the 2023-24 school year, the committee decided to focus their efforts on nutrition education in their three elementary schools.

Nicole Nunes, Wellness Academic Coordinator at Norton High School and active Wellness Committee member, decided to take the lead on this project and developed nutrition-focused morning announcements because she wanted to reach as many students as possible. Starting in January, elementary school students listened to “Tasty Tidbits,” twice weekly nutrition-focused morning announcements covering topics such as eating a rainbow, portion sizes, drinking water and hydration; all done in a kid-friendly, accessible format.

Pile of oranges, squash, pumpkin, and corn on the cob.Here is an example of one of the simple yet effective Tasty Tidbits:

“There is a wide variety of orange foods available worldwide, ranging from citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines to root vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, and from tropical fruits like mangoes and papayas to winter squash like pumpkins and butternut squash. These foods have lots of vitamin A in them which helps us see in the dark and help fight off infections.”

Each elementary school uniquely tailored the nutrition messages developed by Nicole. One of the elementary schools was so excited about this project that they made them into video announcements which included guest speakers such as teachers, parents, and students, and even ended with a catchy jingle created by the music teacher!

By the spring, principals and cafeteria staff reported that the students were more adventurous about eating fruits and vegetables and parents reported students sharing the nutrition announcements at home.

Nicole plans to continue ‘“Tasty Tidbits” next year and wants to incorporate the messages into newsletters in order to reach students in a different medium as well as include outreach to parents and the broader Norton community.

Nicole says, “I don’t think we would have come up with this idea without a [MSWCP] coach. Bouncing ideas off the coach helped focus our wellness efforts for the year.”

 

Visit the SWITCH Initiatives page for more information about the Massachusetts School Wellness Coaching Program or to request a school wellness coach.