The Dining Commons hosted a seminar with registered dietitian Jacqueline Ernst-Smith for Eating Disorder Awareness Week during lunch on Thursday, March 2. Students were offered banana berry sunflower butter smoothies to sip on as they learned about nutrition and eating disorders.
Ernst-Smith said that the smoothie seminar ties into eating disorder awareness because “people with eating disorders have ‘fear foods’ and we encourage them to try new things. Educating them on the benefits of adding these things to the smoothie and encouraging playfulness with highly nutritious foods is thinking outside the smoothie box.”
During the seminar, Ernst-Smith broke down the importance of fiber and protein, as these nutrients provide our bodies with energy and keep us satiated.
“Eating healthy is encouraged of course, and it’s important to eat your fruits and veggies and make it tasty in a fun way,” said Ernst-Smith. “You can play with healthy fats which is why we have chocolate chips with the smoothies, for satisfaction and satiety.”
Disordered eating is “a delicate situation” according to Ernst-Smith. From the executive chef of the Dining Commons to Health Center staff, a team of professionals was there to answer questions and educate students.
The Health Center Promotion and Prevention Manager Gary Rodriguez said “we want to make sure people know the warning signs. It’s all about making sure students know the resources available to them.”
When a loved one shows eating disorder symptoms, “it’s not about labeling them or saying anything is necessarily wrong with them. It’s about being there and showing support.” says Rodriguez.
Students with questions or concerns are encouraged to reach out to the Health Center or Personal Growth and Counseling center to speak with a registered professional.