Dietetic students presenting food demonstrations during National Nutrition Month 2016. Photo by Sophia Vancouver
CHSP’s School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness and the Atrium Café celebrated National Nutrition Month by helping community members put their best forks forward during the entire month of March.
This year’s “Put Your Best Fork Forward” theme for National Nutrition Month was set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Sixteen dietetics students enrolled in the nutrition counseling practicum class created demonstration topics to fit this theme, with presentations on nutritious snacking, nourishing breakfasts, healthy desserts and good-for-you picnicking foods.
The nutrition class presented four weekly food demonstrations in March to help guide students and community members to eat healthier meals, snacks and desserts.
From teaching how to enjoy “Sinfully Healthy” desserts like strawberry crumble and sweet potato fudge brownies, to making mornings easier with make-ahead breakfast bites, the dietetics students developed interesting and informative food demonstrations and education sessions.
“I think the students did a nice job picking recipes that were simple and cost-effective for college students, who were the target audience,” said Jana Hovland, nutrition lecturer.
This year’s demonstrations were well-attended across the board, with the healthy dessert demonstration drawing the largest crowd as people visited to learn how to make treats to replace unhealthy favorites like brownies, muffins and ice cream with delicious, nutritious alternatives.
Another popular demonstration was for breakfast bites, which are eggs and a multitude of healthy toppings that are made in a muffin tin. The crowd learned to make a nutritious breakfast that can be made in large batches for easy meal preparation.
Attendees also had a chance to earn a variety of souvenir prizes, from pens and stickers to spatulas and other kitchen gadgets, all displaying the “Put Your Best Fork Forward” logo. They also received recipe cards and nutritional advice fliers from the students.
Hovland said the students began planning their demonstrations at the beginning of spring semester in order to fulfill a community presentation element in their curriculum.
“I think it is a great opportunity for our students to get hands-on experience,” Hovland said. “When they work as dietitians—which most of the students who are in the class are hoping to become—they will be called upon to do things in the community.”
Applying these skills helps students gain confidence and expertise in their field, which will benefit them in their future careers. Students also receive guidance from Hovland and support from their peers during in-class practice sessions.
“I really enjoy seeing my students grow through the experience and implement techniques they practice in class,” Hovland said. “As dietitians, clients expect them not to just know the nutrition piece but to know how to prepare food. The demonstrations give them an extra opportunity to try out food substitutions or healthier versions that they may end up recommending to clients in the future.”