Community nutrition rotations started on Monday and I was given a bit of an introduction to all the projects and possibilities for these next several weeks.
We spent some time talking about goals objectives for the SDA- Student Dietetic Association. The main goal is to put together a 3-ring binder that the SDA can use each year in order to function at 100%. It can include such things as descriptions of different executive positions within the SDA, fundraising ideas and details, as well as service learning/volunteering opportunities within the community. This binder can provide ideas for SDAs at other universities in the US. Not only will the community benefit from the service learning activities that SDA puts on, but the individual SDA members will benefit by putting their skills to use and building their resume at the same time.
There is also an opportunity to work at The Shack, which is a neighborhood house/youth center that serves children in kindergarden through 8th grade, as well as provides educational opportunities for parents and families. Icould give a cooking demonstration to the kids…something simple and healthy that the kids can learn to make themselves. When the kids get excited about a healthy recipe, their parents will be more likely to make it for their family. I could also teach the kids to make bread dough, which they can take home to their families (again, encouraging their parents to cook homemade meals). Bread is cheap to make (flour, oil, water, yeast, sugar) and can even be frozen and then donated to different food banks as a non-perishable food. Food banks already receive lots of canned goods, so something like healthy frozen bread dough with attached recipes, can be a welcomed change.
There are also farmer’s markets in Morgantown which I could work at. An idea would be to create recipe cards for dishes that include produce and other food items you can purchase at the farmer’s market, and have a cooking demonstration of that meal, hand out samples, and give the recipe cards to those at the farmer’s market. Many people know they are supposed to eat fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet, but they are unsure as how to prepare them in a fun and appetizing way. The cooking demonstration and recipe cards could teach new cooking skills and give people a new idea of how to prepare fresh produce.
I also took the time to think about what I would like my online social media image to be. As nutritional professionals, we have the opportunity to reach a larger audience through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, and more. This could be as simple as sharing links to health news articles online, writing health and nutrition articles, or blogging about healthy recipes. Linking these all together (sharing your blog web address on your facebook page, for example) and including them in your email signature will help your professional online presence to grow. And with that growth can come new opportunities in your career.
After the work day I attended a meeting at the Mon County Extension office from 4:30-6:30pm. There were different members of the community in attendance, including concerned parents, a personal trainer, Registered Dietitians, WIC employees, Extension employees, and nutrition/fitness professionals. Choose to Change wants to create a healthy environment in Morgantown which makes it easier to make fitness, nutrition, and health an integral, regular part of everyone’s day. In order to create this healthy community, certain objectives must be set and made by a certain date. These objectives include food and beverage objectives, nutrition objectives, and fitness objectives in the community, schools, and businesses. Possible goals could include installing water fountains at community parks, replacing sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food in vending machines with healthy alternatives, and creating service learning opportunities for those in higher education. Lots of brainstorming went on during this meeting and will continue on until the next meeting in September.