For the past six years, the Statesboro Food Bank and students majoring in Nutrition at Georgia Southern have collaborated in providing demonstrations on how to prepare heart-healthy and diabetes-friendly food dishes.
The most recent food demonstration, with a Cinco de Mayo theme, had students prepare and clients taste delectable recipes like taco soup, Mexican corn salad, vegetarian fajita pasta and baked churros.
University students completing the Meals Management course in the School of Health and Kinesiology are required to complete the food demonstration project near the end of the semester. Working under the direction of Rebecca Larson, who is a clinical instructor of Nutrition and Food Science, as a team of four, the students plan a menu with an appetizer, side dish, entrée and dessert.
Participants of the free food demonstration watch as the students prepare the recipe, almost like having a front-row audience seat in a food channel studio. Part of the students’ requirements for the graded project include sharing the nutritional information and health benefits of the recipe, selecting a recipe with some of the ingredients available at the Food Bank and the Statesboro Farmers Market and keeping the cost of the recipe to a minimum.
“Most of the students want to be registered dieticians,” Larson said about the food preparers.
Larson was a former school nutrition coordinator, in charge of more than 21 schools.
“There are lots of avenues they can go with their degree. Anywhere nutrition is, we are there.”
Nutrition major Kaci Day showed the audience how to prepare taco soup and made her own taco seasoning to cut down on the sodium content. She also encouraged the participants, when adding canned corn to the recipe, to drain and wash thoroughly to rid it of excess sodium.
Day sliced tomatoes she’d purchased from the Statesboro Farmers Market and said, “Locally grown foods are fresher, tastier and healthier and you’re supporting local farmers and investing in the community.”
Junior university student Madison Heydinger, whose plans include medical school, specializing in sports medicine, said, “My nutrition degree will help me better understand health and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
In preparing her Mexican corn salad, Heydinger told the audience that cilantro is a good source of Vitamin K and has a delicious, natural flavor, eliminating the need to add salt to the recipe.
Ian Affeldt gave tips on preparing a bell pepper for his vegetarian fajita pasta and lastly, Isabelle Foster treated the participants to dessert: baked churros.
Many of the audience members seeking budget-conscious, healthy recipes are return partakers. Alma Newkirt attends regularly and said, “I come back because I have been learning about new ways to improve my diet after having a heart attack. It’s helped me a lot with my menus.”
Newkirt’s friend, Addie Jackson, came to the demonstration with her and said, “I’ve learned new recipes that are healthier for you and how to make them.”
To preregister for the next food demonstration, call the Statesboro Food Bank at (912) 489-3663.