Dietetics students from the Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) 329 Communication in Nutrition course celebrated National Nutrition Month by hosting a National Nutrition Month Fair in the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building (SDRP) on March 7. The booths covered various nutrition topics for college students, including Fad Diets, the Flexitarian Diet, Intuitive Eating, Alcohol, Meal Planning, Gut Health, Cannabis Nutrition for COVID-19 Prevention and Recovery, Sports Nutrition, and Eating on a Budget. Registered dietitians from the Nutrition Education Division at McKinley Health Center were also at the event, raising awareness on making peace with our plates.

Alexia Chen, master’s student in dietetics and nutrition, says, “this is the first in-person project I have done since the pandemic started as I have been studying remotely for three semesters. Teamwork via Zoom and Google docs still worked, but it is not as interactive as face-to-face learning. It felt awesome to see team members in real life. Our bonding was not only on the class project, but also we developed deep friendships with our student teams.”

Each group created an interactive booth to attract and teach college students about nutrition, including decorating a trifold board based on learning outcomes. “Making the board was more challenging than I thought. It was a great exercise to practice science translation, time management, communication, and creativity,” Chen says.

“I was also astonished at the amount of effort all groups put into the boards. The Alcohol group glued a red plastic cup to the board to show the alcohol contained in drinks. It was an excellent way to educate students on how to quantify the consumption of alcohol. The Intuitive Eating group included ten levels of hunger on the board—a flappable paper-covered each level, encouraging students to discuss their eating behavior at a certain level.”

Students from the FSHN 101 and FSHN 120 introductory food science and human nutrition classes were also invited to the event and received extra credit for answering trivia questions at each booth. Bianca Xu, a graduate student in Human Nutrition and TA for the FSHN 101 and 120 classes, states, “I think, for our students in FSHN 101 and 120, attending the Nutrition Fair is a great opportunity if they want to learn more about nutrition, but more importantly if they want to have a glance at how future registered dietitians get trained and to see how the FSHN Department helps dietetics students to practice their presentation and communication skills in events like this.

“It is equally important to both know the sciences and to be able to deliver them to general audiences. Communication is an essential skill for dietitians, considering the nature of their jobs, and that is why we have FSHN 329. Still, ultimately, we feel like every science major should have a targeted communication course like this. Everyone looked well-prepared, the learning activities were fun, and the display boards were well-designed…I was proud to be part of the FSHN Department at this event!”

Many students had an interest in nutrition and wellness, Chen adds. “One student asked me whether nutrients are lost in the cooking process. I enjoyed answering their questions. Giving them a better understanding of nutrition is the goal of this event. I appreciate this opportunity and hope that there will be more events like this in the future in my other classes.”