By Steev Riccardo
Dudley - When checking in with Shepherd Hill teacher Ashley Gustafson’s classroom for her Introduction To Nutrition And Wellness course, you see it is far different that most classes that students attend while in high school. The kids were reading food labels and preparing healthy meals and having fun doing it.
Seniors and juniors at Shepherd Hill who elect to take a Nutrition and Wellness class are not just learning about eating healthy, they are learning how to make good choices and make positive differences in their lives. It’s a lot more about real life than it is about textbooks.
When Gustafson was hired she said that they wanted her “to show students how to make nutritious snacks and meals while understanding the short and long term effects of what they put into their body. I provide them the knowledge to make an educated decision.”
Kitchen safety is the first step on the list. The students learn how important it is to be safe when preparing meals at home. They also learn how eating the right foods can affect their health and affect the health of others in their lives.
The class shows student how to decrease their risk of heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and all the other bad ailments caused from poor eating habits. “In the beginning of the year, one thing we stress is how many people know someone who has one of these ailments,” said Gustafson, who is in her fifth year of teaching Nutrition and Wellness at the high school.
Gustafson believes it helps the students to relate why this is important. “I don’t just tell kids to only eat vegetables every day, I give them information that they can use throughout their lives so they can make educated choices. What a lot of kids don’t realize is how what they put in their body affects their body. They don’t understand the importance of vitamins and minerals and how they affect your skin and your cells, not just how important nutrition is to the body now, but how it is later.”
The group has what is called food lab, where they have to research the foods and the recipes. They also keep on-line food journals of what they eat on a daily basis.
“I think it’s really great, Instead of the regular school day. We get to do something different, learn how to cook food, enjoy eating it, try new things, it’s really motivational.” said Junior Brittany Applin, who credits the class with teaching her how to properly read labels.
They also get printouts of the calories that they are consuming and it determines if they are or aren’t getting enough of the food groups that they need.
Gustafson also teaches the students ways to cook healthy and cook fast “so instead of going to McDonald’s when they have their friends over they can go to the grocery store, buy a pizza dough and make something themselves that takes less time and is healthier.”
Junior Dominika Dziernski, who wants to be a Conservation Scientist when she finishes school, enjoys her Nutrition and Wellness elective because, “It’s a class where I can relax ‘cause I love learning about food and nutrition. I have always been really conscious of what I eat and how diet affects your life.”
The students get to choose their own recipes and break down into groups and cook their meals from start to finish and then eat the food for lunch (which was the fun part for the writer covering the story).
Senior Laney Hamelin did point out that there are a few important requirements. “Every recipe must have two vegetables in it. Vegetables are very important; we put a lot of vegetables in our food.”
- Monday, 12 December 2011
- Posted in Categories: : News