Students Enhancing Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Through Service Learning
AffiliationUniversity of Southern Indiana
TitleStudents Enhancing Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Through Service Learning
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Topic/Problem Statement: Service learning is meaningful community service with instruction and structured reflection to enrich the learning experience and teach civic responsibility. Through service learning, the NUTR 383 students enhanced the HEAL curriculum and met course learning outcomes by applying and sharing food and nutrition principles that promote and encourage simple food and nutrient choices among the HEAL participants. The students reflected on their learning to connect theory to practice while the HEAL participants expressed reciprocal benefits to help enhance their healthy food choices.
Context: Nutrition 383 Practical Applications and Evaluation of Food Preparation and Nutrition is a required spring practical food science offering for Nutrition and Wellness and Foodservice Management majors. The HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) program is a grant funded endeavor that promotes healthy lifestyle changes in a church group, specifically All Saints Catholic Parish in Evansville. Students in NUTR 383 and participants in the HEAL program connected in this innovative learning process by constructing, discussing, sharing, and using these materials to make simple healthy food choices.
Approach: Students worked individually on each assigned application after laboratory instruction. Through the applications, students creatively developed printed materials in four application / assignment sets. These sets included weekly dinner and snack menus, Dietary Guidelines and recommendations, suggestions for low cost foods, Nutrition Facts panel interpretation with focus on health claims, and nutrient connections to color choices of fruits and vegetables. The students also submitted recipes, which were assembled into a cookbook for individuals / families and quantity food service management. Each student created two recipes: One with enhanced vegetables (hiding a vegetable within another vegetable) and another with replacement of salt with flavor, herbs, and spices for a bean (legume) soup. This recipe allowed students to show how to promote health and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, cancer, and dental caries.
Reflection/Discussion: Both the nutrition students and the HEAL participants benefited from the service learning application and the project cookbook. Students were able to plan menus, create recipes, and provide nutritional values for educational materials for the HEAL participants. Through reflection the students stated, “I enjoy and value the engaging hands on experience application that broaden my learning capabilities; and "I feel like it was a review of previous things that have been taught in other classes which is nice." The HEAL participants were very appreciative to receive the supplemental information.
Brinkman, P. & Syracuse, C. (n.d.). Modifying a recipe to be healthier. The Ohio State Extension Family and Consumer Science Bulletin HYG-5543-06.
Evers, W., & Mason, A. (2001). Altering recipes for better health. Purdue Extension Consumer and Family Sciences Bulletin CFS-157-W.
McGee, H. (2004). On food and cooking. New York, NY: Scribner.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2018). 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (8th ed.). Retrieved from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf