As a Health Promotion major here at Plymouth State University, I was given the opportunity to work with the campus’s very own nutritionist, Sara Patterson. Through this experience, I am learning first-hand how the Sodexo company incorporates good nutrition and overall wellness into all of their campus dining services. Having moved off campus this year, I was eager to see what type of changes the dining services had made. Various new meal programs have been added, including the “mindful” option. Mindful meals ensure you are consuming an appropriate number of calories, as well as optimal nutrients for your health and energy levels. For the student’s viewing, all of the food options have been labeled and provide nutritional values as well as any allergy warnings. With food being the fuel to our busy bodies, it is important that students are able to see what it is exactly that they are consuming.Other healthy improvements made include gluten free and vegan meal options, spice racks, and various TV’s throughout illustrating nutrition facts and healthy meal options.
With such an increase in obesity and nutrition-related illness in today’s youth, it’s crucial that the students have access to a healthy nutritious diet. Working as a health promoter, I created a bulletin board entitled “Spring Clean Your Diet.” With Spring being a time of new beginnings, what better way to start the year than with a healthy clean diet. On the board I illustrated an array of fruits and vegetables that are currently “in-season,” as well as their health benefits and tips on preparing them. For those interested in agriculture and food production, I also wanted to showcase a local farm, D Acres of Dorchester, NH. This not-for-profit permaculture farm functions as an educational center that teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming. Many students are unaware as to how important farming is to a community. In fact, Prospect Hall has recently been serving products from local farms such as eggs and baked goods. In return, all of our weekly vegetarian food scraps are sent towards the pigs of D Acres Farm.
Another project I’ve taken on working with Sara was creating a pamphlet for students showcasing the idea of homemade vitamin water. Many students today rely on sugary soft drinks in order to keep them going throughout the day. In fact, studies show that among teenagers, soft drinks account for nearly 13% of their total calories. As a healthy alternative, our homemade vitamin water recipes are made with fresh fruit and herbs. They provide you with essential nutrients and antioxidants, as well as keep you hydrated throughout your busy day.
I am confident that throughout my time spent working with Sara, I will be able to successfully promote good nutrition as well as implement various projects. A healthy diet is so important to a person’s overall wellbeing, and it is our job to provide that privilege to the students of Plymouth State.