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UNH Dining Recognized for Innovative Nutrition Program

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
June 8, 2011

UNH Dining has won third place in the Most Innovative Nutrition Program Contest for the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS).

UNH Dining’s nutrition initiative supports healthy eating and Healthy UNH initiative, which encourages faculty, staff, and students to improve their health with the ultimate goal of making UNH the healthiest campus community in the country by 2020.

This year’s nutrition program, “Eat Right With Color,” during National Nutrition Month aimed to challenge people to eat more colorful fruits and vegetables, challenge the taste buds by trying new foods, spur conversation about healthy options and easy-to-make foods, and captivate attention and increase interest in trying healthy foods.

To meet these goals, UNH Dining created and implemented daily “Learn to Make/Sample” food events in the dining halls and provide easy-to-make-at-home recipes and educational flyers; showcased culinary chefs at daily tables to demonstrate easy-to-prepare items and answer questions; created the Iron Chef student culinary competition; offered a Reach for the Stars special lunch; hosted a Chef Demo Dinner event; suggested creative meal combo ideas in the dining halls using Smart Eating Guidelines; advertised on Facebook pages, web, table tents, posters, flyers and post educational materials via Facebook, in view binders and at events; and conducted program evaluations to review successes.

The daily sampling tables showcased simple food topics, such as “learn to make” salsas, jicama salad, spring rolls, hummus and simple salad dressings.

“Such first-hand experiences increase the chance people will try such items at another time again, whether by itself or making a recipe. To see the chefs doing demonstrations, like an easy herb vinaigrette dressing, helped students see that they could try the simple recipe for themselves as well at home,” UNH Dining registered dietician Rochelle L'Italien said.

The Iron Chef event allowed peers to see peers cooking healthy and colorful items and everyone got to sample at the luncheon, and the Chef Demo Dinner showed the audience that a meal can be complete, tasty and filling with just fruits and vegetables -- no meat.

“Educating about healthy eating was as simple as sharing tasty and nutritious foods on a regular basis for sampling and allowing students to make their own realizations that nutritious foods can be tasty and a regular part of meals,” L'Italien said.

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