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Miscoe Hill Wellness Students Talk Health Eating Choices with Fourth Graders

Miscoe Hill Wellness students and 8th graders (l-r) Emma Cote, Justin Metcalf, Kate Dawson and Jenny Capalucci demonstrate the sugar content of popular soda and sports drinks during a presentation to fourth-graders at Clough Elementary School on January 7. Twelve students made presentations about healthy eating choices to students at Memorial and Clough

For many, a new year means a resolution to make healthier eating choices. But making healthy choices isn't always easy to do.

That is why a number of Miscoe Hill students teamed up with their Wellness teacher Sara Higgins to bring a special nutrition program to the fourth-grade students at Memorial and Clough Elementary Schools.

The program, funded through a grant by the Mendon Upton Education Foundation, brought the 12 eighth grade Miscoe Hill students to the two schools to talk to the students about making healthy food and drink choices in a fun, interactive way.

The elementary students rotated through three different stations during the hour-long presentation, learning about serving sizes, fats and oils in different foods, and sugar contents in popular drink choices.

At the fats and oils station, the older students showed the younger ones how different foods could leave stains on paper, demonstrating which food groups have the most amounts of fats, and which have the least. "It's good to have some fats in your diet but does anyone know why you shouldn't have too much fat in your diet?" asked the Wellness students of the fourth-graders.

At the serving size station, students got the chance to see what a serving size of their favorite snack foods really looks like. Cups of Goldfish crackers, pretzels, and Cheeze-Its were filled with the correct serving size next to cups of what many would eat if just snacking straight out of the bag or box. The Wellness students also instructed the students on where to find the correct serving size on the labels of the boxes or bags of snacks.

The third station showed kids the sugar content of soda, sports drinks and juices, lining up empty bottles filled with the sugar amounts that corresponded to that drink. "Sodas and sports drinks are okay to sample every once in a while; but a better choice would be water or Polar seltzer," said the Wellness team during their demonstration.

After the presentations, each of the fourth-graders received a "Got Nutrition" pencil and an all-natural, no-sugar-added Polar seltzer to try at home.

The Wellness students returned to Clough on January 8 to follow-up their presentation with a blind taste test showing the differences between natural and artificial flavors. Students samples red and green grapes and then were asked to sample two different colored Skittles candies.

"Most of the kids guessed the correct grape color when they tried it, but not many of them could guess the correct Skittle color," said Higgins. "It demonstrated that it is better to choose natural flavors versus artificial ones."

Higgins said that the idea behind the program was not only to teach the younger students about healthy eating choices, but also to help the fourth graders learn more about the topics that they could learn about in Wellness, one of the elective classes offered at Miscoe Hill.

Overall the program was a success according to Higgins, and is one that they hope to put on again in the future.

"The message and experience for both the 8th and 4th grade students is really important," she said.


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