In February and March, West Feliciana LSU AgCenter Area Nutrition Agent, Layne Langley conducted an 8-week nutrition series. Langley used the LSU AgCenter’s Let’s Eat for the Health of It curriculum to deliver the online series.
The series began with “Be Active Your Way”. The session reviewed the physical activity recommendations and highlighted the importance of being physically active. It also suggested reducing sedentary behavior. In the “Make Half Your Plate Fruits & Vegetables” session, participants were urged to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables and to eat red, orange, and dark green vegetables in main and side dishes. Those taking part in the session were informed that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as a part of an overall healthful diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and stroke and may protect against certain types of cancers. Participants learned the difference between refined and whole grains and how to identify if a food product contains whole grains in “Make Half Your Grains Whole Grains”. They were taught whole grains contain fiber which helps keep the digestive system healthy and helps reduce the risk of some cancers and diabetes. The “Dairy: Switch to Skim or 1% Milk” session showed that skim and 1% milk contain the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk but with less fat and calories. The session recommended participants try calcium-fortified soy products as an alternative to dairy foods.
The protein session provided tips for varying protein food choices such as: consuming seafood twice a week, adding beans to the diet, and keeping meat and poultry portions small and lean. Participants were encouraged to choose foods and drinks with little or no added sugars, to watch out for salt, and to eat fewer foods high in solid fats during the “Fats, Sugars, & Sodium” session. Using the nutrition facts label to identify sodium and fat content along with using the ingredient list to determine kinds of sugars present in foods was highlighted during the session. In the “Food Safety” session, those taking part were reminded not to cross contaminate raw and cooked foods such as eggs, meats, and produce. They were told about the danger zone and encouraged to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. The participants learned that all produce should be washed before preparing or eating. Those participating in the Food Safety session also learned the three recommended methods to thawing frozen meat, fish, and poultry and learned poultry should not be rinsed before cooking. The last session “Shopping Smart on a Budget” offered tips to stretch food dollars by planning menus, using the MyPlate, and utilizing technology to compare nutrition and costs while eating healthfully. Buying hints for all five of the food groups were discussed. Also covered during the session was using the nutrition facts label to help save money.
During the sessions, participants were able to view cooking demonstration videos. After each session, they received a handout bundle to reinforce the topic covered.
For more information on nutrition programs conducted by Layne Langley and the LSU AgCenter, contact Layne Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org