A Tasty Partnership: Scholars Learn Nutritious Skills

By Amanda Mlekush

Photo: Participants in the Scholars with Diverse Abilities program, joined by some Nutrition students, prepare brunch in the Levine Hall Nutrition Laboratory . 

SDAP Students in Nutrition LabThe Department of Nutrition has partnered with App State’s Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP) over the past three years to help the scholars learn more about nutrition and healthy meal choices by hosting nutrition education lessons, dorm and apartment cooking experiences, and grocery shopping and meal planning.

Toward the end of the semester, the scholars create a meal in the Nutrition Lab at Leon Levine Hall, working with Nutrition students and Dr. Melissa Gutschall. Their spring meal was a brunch featuring egg bites, french toast with fruit topping and yogurt parfaits with homemade granola; in the fall, the group cooked a number of traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. 

“Our goal is to teach the students how to make healthier food choices, from selecting nutritious foods in the dining hall to meal planning and preparation skills and food safety in the kitchen,” said Dr. Melissa Gutschall, Graduate Nutrition Program Coordinator, who facillitates the partnership. “Having them visit our nutrition lab in Levine Hall allows us to put into practice what they’ve learned during the semester, and then share a meal they’ve prepared.”  

Scholars with Diverse Abilities program, offered through the Reich College of Education, is a transition program for young adults (ages 18-25) with intellectual disabilities. The group participates in a wide range of activities, classes and experiences coordinated by Director Susan Hedges, and Assistant Director Beth Sibley. 

With the Nutrition curriculum, Gutschall says the goal is to help the scholars learn more about balanced meals, budgeting for ingredients, basic food preparation, and building their confidence for adopting a healthier diet through independent living skills. 

“We are continuing to refine our curriculum and experiences for the SDAP scholars to build on throughout their 4-year program, and look for ways to find recipes that demonstrate that healthy eating can be convenient and simple to prepare,” Gutschall said.

Published: May 8, 2024 3:26pm