Education in the Community

Storage Life of Fruits and Vegetables

Make that produce last!

If fruits and vegetables sit around too long before being served and eaten, they can quickly go bad. Throwing away bruised, moldy, or spoiled produce is like throwing away money…and nutrition!

Proper storage can help your fruit and veggies last the maximum number of days in your house.  You can also purchase fruits and vegetables that have a longer storage life, like apples and carrots. When you make an effort to eat fruits and vegetables each day and follow these storage tips, you may find that you aren’t throwing away produce anymore.

Assorted fruitFruits

Refrigerate your ripe fruits so they can last longer. Even bananas can be refrigerated — the peel will turn brown, but the inside will stay nice and ripe!

Also, store apples and grapes inside plastic bags and store any cut melon in air-tight containers.

How long can fruits be stored without going bad?

  • 3+ weeks: apples, grapefruit, kiwi
  • 2 weeks: bananas, blueberries, honeydew, lemon, lime, tangerine, cherries, orange
  • 1 week: grapes
  • 5 days: cantaloupe, watermelon, pears
  • 2-3 days: nectarine, strawberries
  • 1-2 days: mango, peach, raspberries

vegetables clip art


Most veggies need to be refrigerated. Exceptions include whole onions and sweet potatoes, which should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place.  Also, store your tomatoes at room temp, away from direct sunlight.

All veggies should be wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge, and spinach, collard greens, and asparagus should also be wrapped in a damp paper towel within the plastic bag.  Store mushrooms in the original container or a sealed container.

How long can veggies be stored without going bad?

  • 3-5 weeks: whole onions, sweet potatoes
  • 2-3 weeks: rhubarb, carrots
  • 1 week: artichokes, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, green beans, cabbage, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, tomato
  • 5 days: bell pepper, cauliflower
  • 3-5 days: broccoli, spinach, asparagus
  • 1-3 days: cut onions, collard greens
  • ASAP: green onion, summer squash, corn (with husk)
Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go Red for Women 2013

As a graduate student and a dietetic intern, my responsibilities include schoolwork and the rotation hours. Occasionally we also have the opportunity to gain a few more hours in our internship by attending conferences, meetings, and health fairs.

go red for women

On Saturday, February 2nd, several of the other dietetic interns and I were able to volunteer at the Go Red for Women event at the WVU Heart Institute.  The event offers free screenings (fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure), counseling, and risk assessments to women (and men) who attend the event.

Last year there were 300 attendees registered for the event, and this year was just as busy.  We had 2 rooms available to us to discuss meal planning and we were one of the last stations the attendees visited before leaving the event. Attendees that entered the room could get personalized nutrition recommendations based on their lab values, receive answers to any of their nutrition questions, grab a free water bottle and granola bar, and could try a few samples of heart-healthy food we brought – cool cucumber dip & black bean brownies.

I volunteered from 7am-noon and probably gave 1-on-1 counseling to over a dozen individuals. Since heart disease is the #1 cause of death in both women and men, and it was great to be a part of an event that creates awareness and empowers individuals to create positive, healthy, changes in their life.


Snap peas and carrots served with cool cucumber dip

Homemade black bean brownies

Homemade black bean brownies

Handouts on fiber, sodium, and fats, as well as the recipes for the cool cucumber dip and the black bean brownies.

Handouts on fiber, sodium, and fats, as well as the recipes for the cool cucumber dip and the black bean brownies.

Categories: Education in the Community | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Healthy Snacking for the Visual Learner

This week Roanna and I put the final touches on our student forum project we were assigned this rotation. The idea was to design, set up, advertise for, and implement a student forum held in the dining hall. We chose the topic of “Healthy Snacking” and used portion sizes of real food found in the dining hall as visual aids.  Roanna designed the sign used to advertise the forum, and I made the brochure with the template Mary originally created as a snacking brochure for kids.

Healthy Snacking Brochure PDF

Roanna and I set everything up and were at the table for 2 hours over lunch period in Cafe Evansdale.  During that time, students had the opportunity to see what portion sizes looked like, what healthy (and unhealthy) snack options exist in the dining hall, and could ask any nutrition questions they had.  The highlight of the forum was when a student saw our display of celery and peanut butter and was inspired to get her own celery and peanut butter right then from the dining hall with her lunch.  Ahh, influencing the future generation to eat healthy! 🙂 Feels good.

Here are some pictures we took of our display. We chose the snacks based on what was available in the dining halls, and included nutrition facts (calories, fat, carbs, protein, and fiber) on cards below each item. See if you can distinguish between what the healthy snack options are, and what the unhealthy snack options are. Recognize any of your favorites?

Categories: Education in the Community, Food Service | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nutrition Counseling on Campus

One of the great services that WVU provides their students, is the free service of seeing a Registered Dietitian on campus.  I know of a lot of universities across the US have a Registered Dietitian on staff, sometimes through the student recreation center or student dining services.  However at many universities students have to pay a fee to meet with a dietitian, so I think its great to have a free service here at WVU.

Students can set up a meeting with the RD for many different reasons. Meetings can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour in length, depending on the student and their goals.  They may want to talk about recent food allergies, weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, body composition change, how to eat for an upcoming race or competition (ie: marathon, 1/2 marathon, sprint triathlon), eating disorders, or basic nutrition information.

As a dietetic intern working with the RD here on campus, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on and participate in the counseling sessions with students.  Sometimes there are just one or two meetings a day, and other days there are half a dozen meetings with students, all with different nutritional goals.

Since many of the meetings are first-time sessions, and not follow-up sessions, there are a lot of questions that need to first be asked in order to paint a picture of the student’s area of concern.  For example, let’s say a student sets up a meeting mid-semester and complains that he has gained 10 pounds since starting school (almost the full “Freshman 15”). What are some questions that you would ask him to determine how to help him?

Here are some questions that I would ask:

  • What is your height?
  • What is your usual body weight? How long have you maintained that weight?
  • What is your current body weight?
  • How much weight have you gained in how many months?
  • Do you have a meal plan or do you shop and cook for yourself?
  • Walk me through your day, focusing on what you eat and when.
  • What beverages do you drink during the day & night?
  • Do you eat out at restaurants/fast food places?
  • How often do you eat dessert, and what type and serving size of dessert?
  • How do you think your diet differs now compared to what it was back home? (what was your typical diet like at home in high school?)
  • What was your activity level like in high school?
  • What is your activity level like now?
  • What are your weight-loss/body composition goals? Why?
  • When would you like to reach these goals by? Why?
  • How are you best motivated?

These are questions that anyone can ask themselves if they are trying to lose weight.  When you sit down and write down the answers to these questions, you are laying out all the details of what got you to where you are now.  This detailed picture now helps the dietitian and the student to see patterns and problem areas that if worked on, can be fixed. For example, maybe a student used to never eat fast food at home, but now finds themself eating at Burger King 3 times a week. Maybe the student used to be active in sports in high school, but now is sedentary due to lack of organized sports.  Perhaps a student used to eat dessert only a few times a week, but now they are unable to resist the donuts and ice cream that are available at every meal in the dining hall.  Maybe the student used to eat 3 scheduled meals a day back in high school, but now they are grazing throughout the day.

The point is, in order to fix the problem and help the student reach his weight loss goals, you need to help him identify what patterns lead to the 10 pound weight gain. Once the patterns are identified, you and the student can work on making nutrition goals that will be tailored to his individual problem areas.

Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace

One of my rotation requirements was to conduct an in-service to the food service employees on topic of my choosing.  I chose to present on “Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace” and conducted the in-service last Thursday to several Café Evansdale employees. I chose the topic because I found it to be interesting, as well as relevant to the food service workers at Café Evansdale.  There were all 4 generations (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y) in attendance, which is great.

The 4 different generations grew up in different time periods which played a role in shaping their work ethic, work style, and communication style.  Educating employees on the different generations and what historical and cultural events occurred at different times in America’s history promotes patience and understanding among employees.  The employees in attendance found the 8-10 minute presentation to be entertaining (reminiscing the good old days) and I feel that they will look at their co-workers with more understanding, patience, and acceptance, rather than with misunderstanding and unnecessary frustration.

Here’s a copy of my handout that I made for the presentation. I also posted a copy up in the dining services manager’s office for employees to see and learn from.

Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace PDF

Categories: Current News, Education in the Community, Food Service | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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