In celebration of National Nutrition Month, students from Samford University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics joined forces with registered dietitians from DaVita Dialysis to raise student awareness about the importance of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. On March 14, nutrition and dietetics students, dietetic interns and registered dietitians provided smoothies and educational handouts to students, faculty and staff in Samford’s University Center.
“National Nutrition Month is a perfect time to encourage consuming a healthy diet, and targeting college age students only makes sense,” said Ciara Mitchell, Registered Dietitian at DaVita Dialysis. “We want young adults to get in the habit of eating healthy to prevent chronic diseases, including kidney disease, in the future,” she added.
According to Miriam J. Gaines, director of Samford’s Dietetic Internship program, many Americans eat too much salt and sugar and the consequences can be severe. “Proving smoothies introduces students to an easy way to consume more fruits and vegetables,” said Gaines. “By replacing things like chips and colas with a smoothie, students can decrease their salt and sugar intake while increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption.”
National health organizations, including the American Heart Association, encourage less salt and sugar as a way to have a healthier outcome. Gaines explained that on average the more salt a person eats, the higher his or her blood pressure. “Eating less salt can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease. Sugar has been linked to obesity, which is at epidemic levels in the United States,” she added.
Both Mitchell and Gaines were pleased with the outcome of the joint outreach at Samford. “It was great when students tasted the smoothie and wanted the recipe as well as printed health information,” said Gaines. “This might sound like a small step, but it is one that can have important health outcomes.”
2 cups cleaned strawberries
1 cup low fat, plain yogurt
1 cup ice
Place fruit and yogurt in blender and puree until smooth. Add ice; blenderize about 1 minute.
1 cup pineapple
1 large mango
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
1/2 – 1 cup water
Place pineapple chunks and mango slices in blender with ½ cup water. Blend until smooth. Add spinach, adding water as needed.