HERC teaches healthy cooking in Klehm Hall Thursday

Austen Brown, Staff Reporter

Students made a healthy, three-course dinner Thursday in room 2309 of Klehm Hall as part of a series hosted by the Health Education Resource Center.

The healthy eating session, called “Soup-er Bowl” is one of three being hosted for the HERC’s Healthy Cooking 101 program.

All three sessions will teach students how to make healthy meals, and students get to eat the food they make at the end.

Promoting heart health was the topic of Thursday’s session.

Lindsey Eigsti, the HERC’s nutrition promotion coordinator, helped walk participants through making an appetizer, main course and a dessert.

The appetizer for the night was tomato basil bruschetta, the entrée was white chicken chili and the class made chocolate avocado chia pudding for dessert.

The foods were chosen for more than just taste; the ingredients used to make them are known to lower the risk of heart disease, she said.

Eigsti went into detail regarding the ingredients that would be used, which included white beans, olive oil, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, chicken and reduced-fat cheese.  She said she chose white beans because they are known to lower blood pressure and are also “packed with fiber.”

Eigsti also said the choices of olive oil and avocados were made because they tend to lower cholesterol, and the vegetables she chose are loaded with micronutrients and provide vitamins and minerals essential to a healthy diet.

One thing Eigsti warned her class about was how dangerous excess salt is to a person’s heart.

She told the class about the “salty six,” which included bread, pizza, soups, sandwiches, cold cuts and poultry and said people should avoid consuming excessive amounts of them.

She also said that adding salt to a meal could hurt a person’s health.

Eigsti gave some advice on how to avoid adding excess salt to meals; she said seasoning meals with herbs, lemon or salt-free seasonings is a healthier alternative.

Students can also elect to consume fresh meats rather than processed meats to lower their risk of health complications later in life, Eigsti said.

One thing Eigsti demonstrated was how to lower the sodium on food items such as beans, as she showed the class how to rinse excess salt off the white beans they used for the chili.

“You just pour water into the can with the beans, shake it up, rinse it out … it’s not a perfect method, but it definitely helps reduce the sodium,” she said.

According to a flyer put out by the HERC, their program “combines both lecture and hands-on experience in the kitchen” to get students familiar with healthy meals they can make on their own.”

The other two events in the Healthy Cooking 101 series are “Slam Dunk Your Fruits and Veggies” on March 26 and “Fresh Fitness” on April 23. Both will be in Klehm Hall room 2309.

Austen Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].