Halstead students learn healthy eating habits

By CRYSTAL ANTOINE

Special to Leader-Press

 

Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40 percent of daily calories for children and adolescents age 2–18 years—affecting the overall quality of their diets. Schools are in a unique position to provide students with opportunities to learn about and practice healthy eating behaviors.

Hettie Halstead Elementary students at all grade levels learned about nutrition in physical education class studying the food pyramid and the five food groups: carbohydrates, proteins, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and fats and sugars. Students received papers containing drawings of different foods. Each student was instructed to cut and paste one food item from each of the five food groups and glue their choices to a paper plate to create a balanced meal. Students had different types of food on their plates, but every plate had foods from each of the food groups.

This hands-on activity allowed students to piece together a nutritious meal while getting a visual lesson in which categories correlate to the foods they eat every day.

“I learned that spaghetti was actually a grain, and not a meat,” third grader Jermaine Calberi said. “I had a lot of fun doing the activity. Me and my friends acted like we were having lunch together with our plates of food.”

At the conclusion of the week-long lessons, Hettie Halstead Principal Billie Diaz and Assistant Principal Heather Calhoun judged the projects and awarded the top five places from each grade level. The winning projects are on display in the school cafeteria for students, staff and visitors to see.

Parent Johana Hambrick said it was so nice to see the work her child is doing in class on display in the lunchroom. 

“I saw the projects hanging up in the cafeteria while I was eating lunch with my daughter, and I asked her about them. It gave us something to talk about, and allowed me to have an idea of the things my daughter is learning in school,” Hambrick said.   

Coach Lance Garner said that children learn more in physical education class than just exercise.

“This activity was a fun way for my students to learn and memorize the five food groups,” Garner said. “I am very proud of my students and the effort they put into this project. They worked really hard and had an interest in what they were learning.”

 

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