Nutrition Fair Exposes Hidden Sources of Sugar

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Don’t drink your calories.”

“Think about portions!”

These were just two of the many tips given out at the Gateway Community College’s (GCC) Dietetic Technology’s Nutrition Fair on November 19. Dozens of students, faculty and staff stopped by to have their body mass index (BMI) measured, to learn about ways to eat well during the holidays, to sample tasty healthy apple muffins and to stare wide-eyed at a display that showed just how much sugar is in a bottle of soda.

The Nutrition Fair is part of the community outreach work students in the Field Experience II course perform over the course of the semester.

“Our students do community outreach work at schools and long-term care facilities and we always want to be sure that the Gateway community has the chance to share in this information as well,” said Elaine Lickteig, M.S., R.D, Program Coordinator of the Dietetic Technology Program. “The students wanted to share strategies on eating right during the holidays.”

On the Fairway, Lauren Manuck spoke to students from the Early Learning Center who visited the fair, teaching them about healthy snack options. For their display, Kristina Carroll and Sarah Luedee emptied out various sized bottles of soda and filled each with the amount of sugar found in them.

“People have been shocked when they see all the sugar in one bottle of soda,” said Luedee. Much healthier options include mixing juice with seltzer, trying a holiday-spiced tea or drinking water.

In another display, students showed pictures of slices of pie and passersby guessed which one was the 100 calorie slice. (It was very slender!) Ramon Correia measured people’s BMI, showing them their percentage of body fat.

During the Field Experience I, II, III courses, students complete field work in three different settings, food service-based, community nutrition-based and health care-based. The Dietetic Technology graduates work in many settings, health-care, schools, long-term care facilities and at food banks. An example of a community nutrition-based job would be working for Cooking Matters, teaching high school students not only how to cook, but how to shop well before they cook, to show them cooking nutritious food can be exciting and fun, Lickteig said.

“They are very motivated students. They are dietetic technology majors because they have a true passion for the field,” Lickteig said. “Our students are a mix of those who have just graduated from high school to adults who are changing their career and they are all very interested in what they are studying.”