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.
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.