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Georgia Southern nutrition training aims to curb childhood obesity

POSTED: July 7, 2014 11:37 p.m.
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Martha Fannin of Columbus and Shirley Jefferson of Augusta listen to instructions from Michael Diangelo, executive chef at Forest Heights Country Club, on how to prepare healthier school meals.

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School nutrition managers from across the state recently gathered at Georgia Southern University to attend Culinary Institute II, a 32-hour, weeklong training session by the Georgia Department of Education’s School Nutrition Program.

“We are fortunate to work with very passionate school nutrition managers from across the state of Georgia,” said Becky Larson, clinical instructor for the Department of Health and Kinesiology. “They are a part of the solution to help reverse the upward trend in childhood obesity among Georgia children.”

Classified school nutrition managers learned the importance of using herbs and spices, lowering fat and salt, and how incorporating fruits and vegetables into their recipes make for a healthier meal.

“It was a pleasure to work with dedicated school nutrition managers who perform a critical, demanding, and greatly under-appreciated job, with a cheerful upbeat attitude,” said Larry Stalcup, a Department of Management professor. “They are the frontline in the fight against childhood obesity and bad nutrition.”

University faculty and staff assisted in the training by introducing school nutrition managers to healthier recipes that incorporated dark green and red and orange vegetables. Some of the popular recipes were kale slaw, vegetarian “Southern-style” collard greens and sesame carrot salads.

The training advocated a farm-to-table approach by using locally-grown produce from the Lee Family Farms and Walker Organic Farm, both located minutes from campus.

Culinary II is a program of instruction and laboratory experiences that applies principles of a healthy school environment with special diets, quality food and food choices, adapting culinary techniques for flavor to reduce the need for fats and sodium and marketing.

Twenty-eight certified school nutrition managers attended the training.

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