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Students encourage healthy eating through “Shake It Up” initiative

La’Darius Madison and Michala Howard implemented the “Shake It Up” flavor station.

Graduate students Michala Howard and La’Darius Madison, in the School of Health and Kinesiology’s Dietetic Internship (DI), had the opportunity to take part in a statewide initiative to change the entire culture of school nutrition last fall.

The Georgia Department of Education school nutrition team, in partnership with the State School Superintendent and State Board of Education, launched the initiative based on three areas: tasty meals, friendly cafeterias and happy schools.

Howard and Madison worked alongside Wayne County School Nutrition Director, Rindy Trapnell, and School Nutrition Coordinator, Samantha Thornton, to implement a flavor station, “Shake It Up,” at Martha Puckett Middle School in Jesup, Georgia, where students can add salt-free seasoning and herbs to their food without increasing their sodium intake.

Howard and Madison implemented a taste test using cauliflower popcorn as a way to promote the flavor station. Students were allowed to try out the seasoning that would be available on the upcoming station.

“The students were so pleased to learn the health benefits of their new food,” said Madison. “Many of them hadn’t tasted cauliflower before, so I was shocked to see how many of them wanted seconds! It was great to see so many students take an interest in making healthier choices.”

Howard and Madison described their time working in the Wayne County district as just one of the many exciting opportunities afforded to them as dietetic interns.

The University’s DI is a full-time, 12-month, post-baccalaureate graduate certificate non-degree dietetic internship program with concentrations in community nutrition and school nutrition. Students enrolled in the internship are required to complete 30 weeks of supervised practice experience. It has been granted candidate status by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition & Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving 20,673 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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