Nutrition In A Box
For the past several years, I have had the immense pleasure of working with the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute to further their community outreach mission. I worked with a team of physicians, scientists and educators to develop a nutrition education program aimed at 4th to 8th graders. We targeted this age group because kids in the middle grades are more susceptible to misleading advertising, peer and social influences, and the wide availability of empty calorie choices. Making healthy food and beverage choices contributes to academic success, physical performance, growth and development. Our mission was to counter current trends by developing a self-contained, hands-on, experiential curriculum that would inspire students to make healthy choices.
It’s all in a box!
The challenge in developing the program is that all materials, including the teacher’s manual, posters, instructions, games, food photo card deck and all necessary manipulatives are literally contained in one sturdy box. Materials to grow vegetable starts, grind whole grains, measure calcium in bones, utilize Nutrition Facts labels, visit the hypothetical “In A Box Cafe” and much more are all included in the box. Educators and youth leaders will appreciate the ease in setting up and implementing the program.
Nutrition In A Box:
- mirrors the most current USDA Dietary Guidelines.
- utilizes the MyPlate Guide as a model.
- is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
- aligns with current Oregon health education standards and performance indicators.
- has been tested in Oregon classrooms and revised based on student and teacher input.
The program is divided into 4 lessons which contain multiple stations. Lessons 1 and 2 provide the foundation for healthy eating using the MyPlate food guidance system. Lesson 3 focuses on how to achieve balance, especially with foods that contribute excessive simple sugars and unhealthy fats to the diet. Lesson 4 puts it all together by focusing on making healthy food choices in various settings. The stations are color-coded and organized so setting up the program is a snap. Below is an outline of the program:
Lesson Plan 1: MyPlate Power Foods
The “eat more” groups – whole grains, fruits and vegetables
Station 1: whole grains
Station 2: fruits
Station 3: vegetables
Lesson Plan 2: MyPlate Build Foods
The “Build your body” groups – protein and dairy
Station 1: protein
Station 2: dairy
Lesson Plan 3: Winning the Balance Game
Finding the right fit for fats and sugars, evaluating and identifying portion sizes
Station 1: fats
Station 2: beverages
Station 3: ad busters
Station 4: portions
Lesson Plan 4: Taking Charge of Your Choices
Fitting in family meals, meal planning, snacking success and dining decisions
Station 1: family meals
Station 2: snacking
Station 3: menu planning
For more information, visit the Nutrition In A Box page at The Moore Institute. There is a wealth of materials included and several components of the program are freely available for download. The complete self-contained box is also now available for purchase.
The central commitment of the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute is to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases across the lifespan in current and future generations by promoting healthy, nutrient-rich diets based on whole foods. The four key areas of work include community outreach, research, clinical care and public policy advocacy.