Kimberly Teodecki
Staff Writer
kimberlyteodecki@yahoo.com

The mean amount of money a student spends on fast food in a week is more than $25, according to starcrunch.com. Dr. MaryJo DiGiandomenico met with students and faculty of Lorain County Community College in the Culinary Arts building on Feb. 12 to educate and warn them of the unhealthy risks they take when choosing such high-calorie foods. LCCC’s Executive Chef Eric Petrus then demonstrated how to cook and preserve a two-portioned meatloaf and turkey bolognese.

The cooking and healthy eating demonstration offered a single serving meal consisting of whole wheat pasta, turkey sauce, and healthy turkey wraps. The meal and cooking demo were sponsored by Enactus, a community of student, academic, and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and to shape a better, more sustainable world.

“I am here for the extra credit offered in my marketing class for coming, but also to learn something new and enjoy some healthy food,” said Elexa Carrero, a marketing student at LCCC.

Enactus took the Campbell’s challenge, a nationwide objective for groups such as Enactus  to address both short term and long term world hunger. A canned food drive was held to address short term hunger, and the healthy eating demonstration was meant for young people to be more aware of what they consume and feed their children.

“The college students move out on their own and need to learn how to downsize and cook healthy meals,” said Fran Himel, Enactus’s president.

DiGiandomencio stressed the importance of portioning meals and avoiding empty calories during her presentation. She let each person hold a test tube that represented the amount of sugar and fat found in common food items that college students eat on a daily basis.

“Adults need to learn to plan ahead to eat healthy. If that means making your lunch at dinnertime because you don’t have the energy to do it in the morning, do just that,” said DiGiandomencio.

DiGiandomencio talked about how to shop for healthy foods. “You should have a grocery list before going to the store. Essentially, you could buy all of your necessary groceries in the four corners of the store and watch what you buy in between because that is where the cookies, pies, and other unnecessary items are normally kept,” said DiGiandomencio.

Dr. DiGiandomenico also incorporated exercise into her presentation, focusing on maintaining healthy weight as adults, and how to help children maintain healthy weights as well.

Attendees were educated on how to use smartphone apps such as ‘My Fitness Pal’ and ‘Track My Weight.’ These apps provide healthy meal plans, monitor caloric intake, and form exercise plans based on the information given by the user. Even with constant temptation to grab a quick, unhealthy snack, Petrus also tries to maintain a healthy meal plan.

“When I go out to eat, I do eat a lot more, but at home I do a lot of soup and salad to help eat healthy meals,” said Petrus.