UTTC Nutrition Program Emphasizes Healthy Food

Feb 15th, 2011 | By | Category: 22-3: Food Sovereignty, Spring 2011, Tribal College News
By Jill F. Keith

NUTTY EDUCATION. Three UTTC Nutrition and Foodservice (NUT) program 2009-2010 students are pictured (front row): Geri Hollow, Buffy Cartwright, and Shannon Dionne. In the back row are instructor Jill Keith and the program director, Annette Broyles. United Tribes News photo by Dennis J. Neumann

The Nutrition and Foodservice (NUT) program at United Tribes Technical College (UTTC, Bismarck, ND) provides theory and hands-on experience in healthful food preparation, food science, food safety, wellness, and community nutrition. UTTC’s Nutrition and Foodservice vocation offers students the opportunity to major in Foodservice/Culinary Arts or Nutrition/Wellness. Currently, it’s the only land grant tribal college to do so.

Classes emphasize healthful food preparation and nutrition education and provide students with hands-on activities that highlight the connection between healthy eating and a healthy life. Particular emphasis is placed on the use of traditional foods such as corn, beans, squash, and buffalo.

Right out the back door of the kitchen, students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables that are used in classroom activities. Last fall, students made fresh salsa with garden tomatoes, cilantro, green peppers, and onions. NUT Vocation Club lunches have also incorporated eggplant, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and beans. The Quantity Foods class prepares meals for students, staff, and faculty on campus. Meals last fall included fresh squash, sweet corn, and tomatoes from the garden.

Students graduating from the NUT program can transfer into programs of advanced training to become dietitians or chefs, or they can work in careers involving school lunch, WIC, diabetes and wellness programs, hospital or elder care foodservice, casino kitchens, or private restaurants.

Many American Indian people have health problems relating to poor nutrition and a lack of knowledge regarding food selection and preparation. This program has succeeded in changing students’ attitudes toward nutrition, however. Student Kathleen Brown (Standing Rock Lakota) says, “I use more fruits and vegetables at home because of the garden and how we use it in our classes.” Almona Oakie (Rosebud Lakota) says, “Having a garden we can use helps to keep food costs down.” A third student, Jamie Cameron (Standing Rock Lakota), participated in an eight-week summer internship at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Grand Forks, ND. While there, he focused on diabetes prevention.

Students graduating from UTTC’s Nutrition & Foodservice program will be trained as nutrition professionals who can address poor nutrition and diabetes, have a positive impact on communities, and ultimately improve the health and balance of life for American Indian people.

For more information, contact instructor Jill F. Keith by phone (701) 255-3285 x1234 or email jkeith@uttc.edu.

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