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Posted by: Tiffany Adams on Apr 17, 2014

Dietetics Students Teach About Reducing Food Waste

As part of Utah State University’s Service Week eleven seniors in an advanced dietetics practicum class at the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences educated the public about reducing food waste.

During the event, the students focused on four different areas: reusing leftovers, proper food storage, dispelling myths about expiration dates and composting.
Each topic was hosted at its own booth to give event participants a closer look at the issues.

At one booth, event participants had the opportunity to race in putting food containers in either in a fridge or on a shelf depending on where they thought the item belonged. Another booth helped participants understand that many foods are still edible after they expire. There was also a chef demonstration featuring USU Catering sous chef Corey Cozzens who showed audiences how to take things like leftover meat and vegetables and make a meal, such as a Mediterranean wrap, out of them. At the last booth, dietetics students discussed composting as an alternative to throwing food out and showed participants items that can and cannot be composted.

“It was fun to see [the event] come to fruition and just to see that people are interested because we’ve put so much into this,” said senior dietetics student Dawn Reed. “It was nice to know that it was well accepted and that people appreciated what we had done.”

Senior Melodie Haslam agreed.

“We weren’t sure if people were going to be interested in it or not but seeing their enthusiasm and their interest was really rewarding,” she said. “There were things that to us are common knowledge, but it was something that they didn’t know and they were excited about and that was fun to see.”

Dietetics professor and faculty advisor Tamara Steinitz noted that she not only enjoyed watching the students teach others, but watching them learn and grow themselves.

“There’s no better way to learn than by teaching others and I was glad to watch them do that,” she said.

As proof of their learning-by-teaching experience, many students said that because of the project, their own food habits had changed.

“Every time I take a bite of food or put something away now I think, ‘I am not going to waste this,’ and then I think of a way that I could use it the next time,” said senior Stacey James.

Similarly, Reed noted that she used to throw away fruits and vegetables because they would go bad. However, her participation in this project has helped her stop purchasing more than she needs.

Students also learned that the skills and concepts learned during this event are things that can be used in their future careers as dieticians.

“Tammy always says that you have to put food in people’s mouths to open their ears,” senior Allison Skidmore said. “When you bring food and it tastes good, they’re going to listen to what you have to say. I noticed that when we had the wraps, more people who came to our event were willing to listen to what we had to say. I’ve learned this and will use it in my career when I’m trying to educate others.”

  

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