NIU graduate students show farmers market customers tips for easy, tasty, healthy eating

NIU graduate students Jessica Harris and Megan Laurent, who are studying nutrition and dietetics, make healthy summer treats for customers of a farmers market in Aurora.
NIU graduate students Jessica Harris and Megan Laurent, who are studying nutrition and dietetics, make healthy summer treats for customers of a farmers market in Aurora.

A pair of NIU graduate students who are studying nutrition and dietetics showed customers of Aurora’s farmers market last week that eating healthy can be easy, tasty and fun.

With fruits and vegetables donated from vendors, students Jessica Harris and Megan Laurent made smoothies, peach salsa and other treats.

“Having the students there was a good fit,” said Jane Maxwell, coordinator of Kane County Health Department’s Making Kane County Fit for Kids program. “Farmers markets are a key source of fresh fruits and vegetables, and they are popular.”

During the day, a steady line of customers dipped their chips in the salsa and sipped on the smoothies.

While the adults and children were enjoying the treats, they were learning recipes for easy-to-make summertime meals. Some of those recipes will become available on the Fit for Kids website.

“The students were very well received,” Maxwell said.

The students are part of a class studying strategies for modifying nutrition behaviors and selected the community intervention program as their final project.

“My expectations for the event were blown out of the water,” said Harris, a native of Salem, Ill. “People have a desire to be healthy but they don’t always know how. I learned that if we give them something easy, convenient and healthy, the general public will continue to use these methods daily.”

Logo of Making Kane County Fit for KidsAt the market, the students provided a cooking demonstration, recipes and reasons why customers should eat more fruits and vegetables.

Developing materials for children at the market was the challenge the students presented as a great end-of-the-semester project, said Beverly Henry, an associate professor who teaches in NIU’s School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences.

“This was great experience for the students,” Henry said. “Farmers markets have such a wide appeal. This is the first time students have gone to the Aurora’s farmers market. It went so well we need to consider how to develop future community-based learning activities.”

by Gerard Dziuba

More on the Net: 

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email