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Running head: SESSION 9


Celeste Ulloa
PPE 310: Health Literacy for Schools
Dr. Hesse


Today many people are faced with the concern of obesity. This has been a lasting problem in
America for a number of years and is in direct correlation with health concerns of those who affected
by it and as of recent, encouragement of healthier choices for improvement is promoted everywhere.
Created by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, was created to
help build healthy meal and options into your day. BY using this tool it can transparently be seen in
your daily meal the grains, vegetable, fruit, dairy, and meat intake through daily meals. This easily can
be compared from a student’s plate from breakfast to lunch, to the National Standards for School Meals
and Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It is important to keep these factors in mind as they directly
affect our classroom and students and using a tool such as, the encouragement for
students to see their own nutritional factors in accordance with their school meals is made known.


National Standards for School Meals
In the National Standards for School Meals, it is required that all school make the availability
for a plentiful amount of grains, vegetables, fruits, fat-free and low-fat milks to be offered in schools
daily in order to offer healthy and nutritious meals. (2012) Sierra Verde STEM Academy is a nut free
school and prides itself in healthy and active options for students. The Sierra Verde mission statement
explains, “The cafeteria staff will provide nutritional choices at breakfast and lunch to promote
learning.” (2015) Sierra Verde does meet the National Standards for School Meals for breakfast and
lunch and is currently on a free or reduced lunch policy although few students receive.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans presents the idea that nutrition and physical health go
hand in hand. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans explains that the healthy intake for all includes a
variety of vegetables from all subgroups, fruits, grains half being whole grain, fat-free or low-fat dairy,
and a variety of proteins. It also includes a limit on saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars. All of
these should be based off of your calorie intake based on age, height, and weight. The average second
grader or 50-pound child, their daily allowance of calories is 1600 and the students receive 15 minutes
of play time 60 minutes on physical education days which come twice a week. Based on food options
alone students do not meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans because they are not receiving the
variety of food to make nutritious meal.
Based on the idea that both nutrition and health are equally as important to a healthy life style,
students receive a very limited amount of time to improve their health after their meal, 15 minutes of
recess and receive very little health knowledge as they only go to their physical education/ health class
for 45 minutes 2 times out of the week. Though healthy living is promoted throughout the school,
according to these guidelines, nutritious and healthy habits are not exhibited.


Nutritional Improvements
At Sierra Verde, to improve the student’s nutritional intake, the school breakfast and lunch
menu would allow for more fresh options for students such as fruits and vegetables as of late, the
students have a choice between a salad or a fruit (usually an apple or banana), by adding more of a
selection or even allowing students to be able to have both rather than picking one over the other,
healthy options may be more appealing to other students. From the information based on the breakfast
and lunch items put into ChooseMyPlate, the items contained 11/40 g of added sugar and 7/18 g of
saturated fat. However, when looking at the sodium the food contained, the result was 1565/1900 g.
With that being said, an improvement made could be the sodium intake and having alternative healthy
options with less sodium; Fresh fruit or vegetables would also be an asset in this area as well. Finally,
another improvement that could be made, is the use of whole grain. In the burrito for example, rather
than using a flour tortilla a whole grain, multigrain, or gluten free tortilla could be used. This would
allow for students to still eat a food item they love while eating a healthier choice that is high in
nutrition and low in sodium, another proposed improvement, all of which to help keep students healthy.
Being educators, the ties between what’s eaten, health, and learning is easily seen day to day.
Students who receive a more wholesome diet seem to focus easier and get the most out of their learning
day than that of a student who may eat foods rich in saturated fat, trans fat, and/or lots of added sugars.
These foods often seem to be a preference for a once in a while snack however, keeping in mind the
area, being next to an AJ’s, Sprouts, and restaurant of healthy fresh choices, many of the students seem
to desire or want those options in their school and often bring their lunch because these items are not
supplied. The students like to feel good throughout the day, as eating nutritiously and staying healthy
allows them to feel confident, concentrate easier and more fully. Many times those who don’t get much


of these healthier items or physical activities tend to get tired, feel emotionally unwell, and are less
likely to fully participate in class learning because more often than not the are crashing.
Students are able to easily view their regular daily items see their calorie intake, fat intake,
sugar intake, and how much of each food group they are getting each day and are able to move forward
with determining a more nutritious diet from there. By teaching students how to make healthy choices
and use tools such as the ChooseMyPlate tracker, students are able to see for themselves their diet daily
and due to the fact that it’s personalized, students will have more fun and may take more of an interest
in their own health and feel more encouraged to do all they can to improve it.
Opening these eyes of the students to healthy living gives them the responsibility and
realization that their choices are up to them and make a healthier you are entirely up to no one other
than you. Not only are we teaching students to be healthy but we are also teaching accountability and
that change all starts with you.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (2015). Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
MyPlate. (n.d.). Food Tracker. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. (2012).
Federal Registrar, 77(17), 4088-4089. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
October 2014 Sierra Verde STEM Academy Café. (2015,August). Retrieved
March 13, 2016, from