Evaluation Results Helping First Grade Students Make Healthy Eating Choices

Healthy Choices, Healthy Me! Nutrition Education Program for 1st Graders

Helping First Grade Students Understand how to Make Healthy Eating Choices

Full Evaluation Results

Evaluation Summary

The Healthy Choices, Healthy Me! nutrition education program is developed for first graders and aligns with the USDA’s nutrition guidance system. The program includes eight ready-made lessons aligned with California’s Common Core Standards that teach about all five food groups to inspire students to make healthier choices

Lessons Cover
  • Importance of consuming nutritious foods from the five food groups
  • Minimizing consumption of low-nutrient foods high in sugars and fats
  • Importance of eating a balanced breakfast
  • Being physically active for 60 minutes per day
Program Materials
  • Teacher guide
  • Box of food pictures for in-class activities helping children to identify foods
  • A storybook for second grade
  • Student workbooks
  • A Note to Families brochure sent home with students
Key findings from evaluating the program
  • The program improved students’ competency to classify foods within food groups
  • The program improved students’ ability to identify nutritious snack foods over foods high in empty calories
  • Increases in nutrition knowledge persisted throughout the school year
  • Teachers reported that the program was easy to implement in their classroom

Conclusions
Healthy Choices, Healthy Me! program for first graders was easily implemented by teachers, and it appeared to improve children’s knowledge of food groups and healthy snacks. There was also evidence that the program increased children’s physical activity and their consumption of nutritious food group foods for breakfast instead of foods high in empty calories.

About the study
The program was evaluated during the 2004-05 school year by researchers at WestEd, an independent researching firm. Primary outcomes of interest included teachers’ and students’ satisfaction of the program, the age-appropriateness of the nutrition education lessons, and whether or not children gained nutrition knowledge, increased physical activity, and ate more nutritious breakfasts during the program. Twenty California-based first grade classrooms (close to 350 students) participated in the quantitative and qualitative evaluations during the 2004-2005 school year. The first grade evaluation measured students prior to participating in the program, following the program, and two months later, but no Control group was tested for comparison in this formative evaluation. Read the full report.

 

View Healthy Choices, Healthy Me! program materials.

Full Evaluation Results

Nutrition programs are free to California teachers and available for a nominal cost for teachers from other states.

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Teacher Comments

Teacher program feedback was positive, indicating the revisions amply addressed comments on specific lessons from the original program. Teacher comments illustrate the flexibility of the program to fit in the classroom.

It was just so teacher friendly! I had no problems planning my lessons. It was also easy for the students, and they comprehended the lessons.
It gives practical application for the skills of classification and categorization.
I teach my first graders that they are responsible for their personal health, and this program goes right along with that philosophy.
We had an extension activity, a "Healthy Choice" party. Everyone selected their lunch, made it balanced and had one helping from the extras group. Parents were surprised to see their child eating vegetables. They didn't at home.
It was very easy and sequential—and a good idea to identify standards.
Quick to prep and allows for lots of oral English language development in a meaningful way.