“Healthy habits start young” is an idea embraced by the Student Dietetic Association as it began teaching lessons in healthy eating to local schools this semester.
Students in the nutrition program and members from SDA began teaching high school and middle school students at Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology for the first time this semester. Becky Larson, clinical instructor of nutrition and food science, initiated this program and extended the opportunity to teach nutrition to students in her classroom.
SDA Vice President Morgan Schaack, junior nutrition and food science major, said that the members create daily lesson plans at CCAT about food, cooking and other healthy lifestyle choices.
“Every day has a topic, so for example, this past week my topic was to teach students to read nutrition labels,” Schaack said.
Larson said that student teaching is a great learning experience because the university students can practice promoting wholesome eating while CCAT students get further health education.
“CCAT doesn’t offer nutrition classes, and health classes only spend about five hours teaching nutrition related material,” Larson said.
“Not only do we teach, but we talk about their lives and have a dialogue between us. We are learning from them as well,” said Schaack.
Augie Watson, SDA President and junior nutrition and food science major, said SDA will begin another school mentoring program later in the semester with the Biology Club at Sally Zetterower Elementary School.
“We will be working with the Biology Club to set up a garden. For the first four weeks the Biology Club teaches them the functions of plants. Then we come in and teach them for four weeks all about the nutrition aspects of it,” Watson said.
The weeks of teaching and growing will culminate in a hands-on cooking event at Honey Bowen Building where the kids will be allowed to cook what they grew, Watson said.
“This is important because it teaches the children how to incorporate the plants and vegetables into their family meals. They are painting a picture of what they grew this whole time,” Schaack said.
SDA is just as active on campus as it is in the community. SDA has about 60 active members and partner with the Campus Farmer’s Market, Garden Club, and will be working with the LiveWell Fair in February, Watson said.
Schaack said, “I’ve always believed that whenever people come together, they are learning from one another. You are finding out what they want to do in the field, so we can learn from them and try to help them, and weaving it and figure out someone’s niche.”