(07/26/21) BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU AgCenter Flavors of Health nutrition agents from across the state were chopping, dicing, whipping and meal planning as part of a training to help enhance their cooking demonstration skills on July 15 on the LSU campus.
The agents regularly put on nutrition programs and demonstrations in their own communities, but the agents had spent the previous year doing programs virtually, so this was a good time for a demonstration refresher.
Elizabeth Gollub, a nutrition specialist and registered dietitian with the AgCenter, oversees the Flavors of Health program and organized the training to provide agents with tools they can use to be successful in improving health outcomes in their communities.
Gollub said agents have been getting a lot of questions about cooking with air fryers and pressure cookers, so each agent was given those devices to incorporate into their cooking demos.
“We want to show that healthy can fit into a variety of diets and cooking methods,” Gollub said.
Flavors of Health is an LSU AgCenter community nutrition and health education program led by a core group of nutrition agents, most of whom have received Health Coach Certification training to prepare for this program. These agents provide expertise on a wide variety of topics that support healthy eating, including how to set realistic goals, make small changes in daily behaviors, transform healthy behaviors into healthy habits and select healthful foods.
One aspect of the training was meal planning.
“If you plan your meals, you are more likely to prepare your meals yourself, which tend to be lower in sodium and fat and more budget friendly than last minute pick-ups,” Gollub said.
Becky Gautreaux, AgCenter area nutrition agent and a registered dietitian in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, said the training will help improve the Kids Chef Camp she hosts annually and was a great opportunity to practice her skills.
“We took an aspect of the MyPlate to look at what we typically eat in a day compared to what MyPlate recommends, and it really drove home how much we are eating some days,” she said, adding that component is a lesson she will use with clients in her area — clients like Beth Plaisance.
Plaisance worked with Gautreaux through the Smart Portions program. Plaisance, a retired teacher who had tried weight loss programs before, said nothing was as successful as what she learned from Gautreaux. She said she started eating properly, got her portions under control and added more fruits and vegetable to each meal.
Plaisance said Gautreaux was a great motivator throughout the program, and she trusted the information she was giving her.
“I knew she was a dietitian and knew the information she was sharing was based in science and education,” Plaisance said.
She also started moving more thanks to what she learned through the program. Plaisance said she feels better and has more energy to walk and work in her garden.
“I can walk without having to stop every 10 minutes to catch my breath. I can get out more in my garden and get on my hands and knees and pull weeds longer than I could before,” she said.
Other Flavors of Health programs include Break Up with Salt, Dining with Diabetes and Small Changes/Healthy Habits. Contact the LSU AgCenter extension office in your parish to find out about nutrition programs in your area.
LSU AgCenter Flavors of Health nutrition agents Markaye Russell, left, and Becky Gautreaux work on their cooking demonstration skills during a workshop held on the LSU campus July 15. Photo by Tobie Blanchard/LSU AgCenter
LSU AgCenter Flavors of Health nutrition agents Tramayne Richardson, left, and Abigail McAlister prepare a dish during a Flavors of Health workshop held July 15 on the LSU campus. Photo by Tobie Blanchard/LSU AgCenter