Promoting Healthy Eating Habits in Second Graders

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This paper is geared toward promoting education of healthy eating habits of second grade students. According to Blais and Hayes, “Healthy People 2010 define Health Promotion as individual and community activities to promote healthful lifestyles. These healthful lifestyles include the improvement of nutrition in America” (p.120). The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), an organization of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has provided the necessary tools to help guide and promote healthy eating habits through conducting research and evidence based analysis in nutrition. USDA Food Guidance System known as MyPlate, MyPyramid, or the Food Guide Pyramid are used to educate the public and offer information on the recommended nutritional guides on weight management, caloric intake, physical activity, and health tips for specific ages and health conditions.

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The Dietary Guidelines of Americans 2010 have set guidelines used to promote healthy eating to the American people of all cultures, traditions and socioeconomic background. These guidelines encourage the consumption of nutritional foods, which include fresh vegetable and fruit, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, a variety of protein rich foods, which include lean meats, seafood, nuts and legumes (p.46). The emphasis of these principles will be used towards the promotion of health through the development, implementation and evaluation of a teaching plan on healthy eating habits to second graders, between the ages of 7-9 in a their classroom setting using the MyPlate educational teaching tools. Assessment of Learning Needs

The second grade learning group consisted of fourteen children ages 7-9. An interactive class activity was presented using different items which consisted of each food group using the MyPlate teaching concept. The children were asked to identify the food item they preferred unhealthy versus the healthy choice. The children’s knowledge on making healthy food choices was assessed at this time. It was assessed that 72% of the children preferred the food item that was unhealthy, while 28% made healthier selections. Although some of the children made healthy choices the majority of the group made unhealthy food selections. Prior to presenting the teaching plan the teacher reviewed the material to assure it would be understood by the second graders. Their developmental level was confirmed to be within the second grader learning ability in communication and understanding.

None of the children required special learning needs. Two of the children wore corrective lenses, which did not inhibit their ability to participate in the activity. Cultural consideration was assessed by asking the children their race and the different kinds of food that is cooked at home. Two children were multicultural of Hispanic origin and specific food items commonly eaten at home were placed into its specific food group. The second graders first language was English. None of the children expressed specific spiritual practices as pertaining to eating habits or customs. The second graders preferred an interactive learning style which included: demonstration, answering and asking questions, and coloring activity. The second graders were enthusiastic and expressed eagerness to learn and share the information with their parents. The overall health status of the second graders was good. There were a few that expressed having allergies or respiratory problems.

Learner Objectives

The learning objectives for the promotion of healthy eating plan are as follows: A. Affective Domain: The students are willing to actively participate by listening and responding to the instructor’s presentation on healthy eating habits and engage in group activity. B. Cognitive Domain: Each student will be able to choose three healthy food items specific for each of the five food groups and describe three ways healthy eating nourishes the body and benefits of staying physically active. C. Psychomotor Domain: The students will select and identify the food item that is more beneficial for their health with given activity.

Teaching Plan

The teaching plan to be implemented includes the following presentation, which incorporates the current lunch menu offered to the students in school: A. MyPlate five food group and drink option was presented and the students are asked to choose which food item is eaten daily unhealthy versus healthy items included: 1. Fruit group: Selection of fresh fruit (banana, apple, orange strawberries, etc.) or a fruit cup 2. Grain group: Selection of French fries, potato chips, baked potato or wheat or white bread sandwich 3. Vegetable group: Selection of fresh carrots, salad, celery or canned carrots, corn 4. Protein group: Selection of fried chicken nuggets or baked chicken nuggets, burger or subway sandwich 5. Dairy group: Selection of whole milk or low fat milk, cheese or yogurt 6. Drinks: Water, Capri Sun or Juice box

Each individual student will be encouraged to participate and other specific items not listed will be placed in the classified food group in order to address all individual needs. B. MyPlate nutritional guidelines reviewed with the students and open questions answered. 1. The School Day just got Healthier article discussion of the 10 tips for Nutrition Education Series includes awareness of healthier school meals for children, inclusion of more fruits and vegetables daily, along with whole-grain rich foods. The offering of a variety of low fat and fat free milk, reducing saturated fats and salt, increase in water intake. Meeting caloric needs through portion sizes, development of wellness programs, making better food choices and resources available to parents. 2. Emphasis on each food group with interactive group participation to name at least three healthy food items of choice 3. Name how healthy eating benefits the brain, heart and digestion, along with getting at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. C. Students will identify or select the healthier food items offered introduced at the beginning of presentation. 1. Choose MyPlate coloring activity will allow for a visual picture to reinforce the five food groups in a simple manner. 2. Draw three healthy food items on their MyPlate activity sheet. 3. Reinforce healthy eating habits with a take home pamphlet for the parents that describe 10 tips for healthy snacking. Evaluation of Teaching and Learning

Evaluation of teaching and learning strategies were accurate, clear and appropriate for the second grade students. The teaching plan was simple and interactive to meet each individual learning need. The health promotion plan and activity outlined can be followed to teach other second grade students the importance of healthy eating habits using the free resources and information available on the website MyPlate Kid’s Place. The evaluation of learner objectives was measured by having the students re-evaluate their previous food item choice and compare it to the healthier food item. The scores were significantly higher were 92% the students identified and selected healthier food items listed.

Open class discussion was used to determine if the teaching strategies used were appropriate for the students. The students expressed understanding and enjoying the class, the activities used and having a parent teaching the class. Positive feedback was given by the teacher present and students. The students were comfortable in their classroom setting, which is the appropriate environment for learning. The health promotion event was successful and effective in educating second grade students on healthy eating habits. The students expressed eagerness to share the resource pamphlet with their parents. The information shared would have been more effective and beneficial if the second graders parents were present, but studies show that second graders are influential in assisting parents make healthy eating choices for them with the information they learn.

Blais, K. K., & Hayes, J. S. (2011). Professional nursing practice: concepts and perspectives (6th ed.), New Jersey: Pearson U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010 Jacksonville University College of Health Sciences (2012). School of nursing mission. Retrieved March 25, 2014 from Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2014. Retrieved from U.S.
Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington, DC. Color Sheet. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from U.S. Department of Agriculture. Website. Washington, DC. School Day Just Got Healthier. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from