Healthy Heels: nutritious and delicious

December 08, 2008
Students stuffed shells with various cheeses: ricotta, cottage, and a six Italian blend.

Students stuffed shells with various cheeses: ricotta, cottage, and a six Italian blend.

A lot of effort is made by nutrition groups to focus on communities off campus, which certainly is very important, but Amanda Velazquez, a senior Nutrition BSPH student and president of Healthy Heels, asks the question “what about us, [UNC students]? Who is teaching students about healthy food and how to prepare it?” Amanda often jokes that students are graduating with degrees from UNC, but many cannot even prepare brown rice with veggies or understand the nutritional importance of the food they consume. It is this gap that drove the foundation of Healthy Heels. The organization teaches UNC students the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through simple food preparation and a proper diet. Healthy Heels is a forum for students to learn about healthier food products and alternatives. Educating students will, hopefully, lead to healthy eating patterns and prevent obesity later in life.

On Thursday September 18, Healthy Heels had their first cooking class of the new school year. At the demonstration, several students split into four groups, each led by a Healthy Heel coordinator. The menu for the evening was “Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Smokey Marinara” and “Yogurt Parfaits with Crunchy Granola.” The recipes provided nutritional facts, such as the number of calories and fat estimate, so that participants knew exactly what they were eating. The meal was simple, healthy, and took less than an hour to prepare. Once the food was ready, students got to eat the meal they prepared and Amanda went over the nutritional value of what was being eaten. Healthy Heels followed their first demonstration with another event in the Lenior Dining Hall. With the aid of Jo Pelligra, a Chef at Lenior, volunteers from the organization took over the Wrap Station and provided a healthy alternative for lunch. The menu created was dubbed “Edible Autumn,” which included quesadillas with sweet potatoes, cheddar cheese, onions, and peppers, a spinach salad with red onions and pecans topped with a lime cumin vinegar dressing, and baked apples with brown sugar and cinnamon for dessert. Students in Lenior during the lunch hour seemed to really enjoy the food and the organization recruited more members. In past, Healthy Heels has participated in a variety of information fairs, worked with Carolina Dinning Services and Campus Recreation, and even done a few cooking presentations in dorms. In the future, Amanda hopes that Healthy Heels will grow in members who can teach cooking classes and demonstrations. She hopes that a rise in participation will lead to an increase in the number of events provided on campus and a greater opportunity to target more students- including fraternities, sororities and athletic teams. Healthy Heels aims to make a greater impact on promoting healthy eating and the preparation of nutritious meals for students. For more information on Healthy Heels, see their Facebook page: Healthy Heels. For more on other student organizations, see our webpage