—By Manuela Correa
On the warm afternoon on October 28 at 2:00pm, Passaic County Community College and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey had a second meeting about nutrition that was attended by five students. Additional meetings were held on October 29th and November 4th.
This zoom meeting was attended because all five students were concerned about their health and they wanted to see if they could improve their eating habits, which was a benefit because at the end, they learned a recipe to include it in their diet.
One of the members of Community Food Bank of New Jersey started with a PowerPoint presentation showing the rules of the meeting. If the students had a question, they should type it in the chat box, and if the member of CFBNJ member asked a question, the students could unmute themselves and turn on the camera if they wanted to answer.
She also brought an important point which was that nobody should discriminate each other because of the race, nationality, sex, disabilities, and beliefs.
The member started the presentation asking the students what they want to know about the food they are buying at the grocery store.
The students reported that the first thing they look is the price. Then, they look for the expiration date, calories. The member completed the information saying that they should look the brand, labeling, and nutrition facts label.
After that, she explained what the nutrition facts label is, which is a label that contains the amount of chemicals and nutrients that a product has. Also, she pointed its purpose: inform the costumers what exactly they are buying.
The member pointed some details such as the serving size (how much a person should consume from the product), calories and fats (how much energy and fats the product has), sugars (how much sugar was added during the packaging process), sodium (how much salt), cholesterol, and fiber.
Now, knowing about the nutrition facts label, she showed a pie chart that represented the amount and the kind of fruits, veggies, dairies, grains, and proteins that a person should put on their plates varying them on the daily basis.
Later, the students did an activity where they compared the calories and fiber form regular and whole grain pasta. They also compared soda and apple juice’s sodium and sugar, where surprisingly, was the soda that had more sodium and sugar.
The point of doing this activity was to see which one of those products was better for the body depending on the nutrition facts label.
At the end, she shared a black-eyed pea and celery salad with its ingredients: vegetable oil, lemon juice, onion, garlic, oregano or Italian seasoning, black eyed peas, celery stalks, bell pepper, and parsley.
Lastly, she did something that was not expected. The member gave an advice that all people should exercise with some examples of exercise. Go to the gym, taking the stairs, walk every day, hike a mountain, bike on the weekends. “Do any of these activities 30 minutes, 5 days a week.” She said.
The member ended the meeting with some jokes and asking the students to take a short survey to improve their health and the nutrition presentation. She thanked them for taking the time to listen to her and participating on the meeting and the activities.