Week 7: Nutrition

POST-MODULE QUIZ LINK:  https://forms.gle/PNnZzTy2cC5P15dY8

This is a mandatory quiz to be completed upon reviewing this week’s materials.

It is only graded for completion, so take the quiz for your learning!

What is nutrition and why does it matter?

Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs. Good nutrition – an adequate, well balanced diet combined with regular physical activity – is a cornerstone of good health. Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.

Nutrition Review

If you would like a really good, evidence-based review of nutrition, please skim through this article: Click Here!


Food Environments:

Studies show that your social environment greatly impacts what you decide to eat. Certain food environments make it particularly difficult to make healthy eating choices. These are often categorized as ‘food deserts’ and ‘food swamps.’

  • Food Deserts: A food desert is an area, especially one with low-income residents, that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food.

  • Food Swamps:  Food swamps have about four unhealthy options for each healthy one. Food swamps are a strong predictor of obesity rates—even stronger than food deserts!

Our Neighborhoods

Think about the Family Van site in which you volunteer. Consider: What food choices are available? What food choices are not available? Are there price differences between healthy and unhealthy foods? What are the social services available to those who are food insecure?

One of our former volunteers started creating a chart highlighting the food environment of our Family Van sites. Please skim through and feel free to add anything that you feel would be a helpful resource! Link to Google Doc


Culturally Informed Education

Some tips:

  • In many Latin and Caribbean cuisines, spices are very important for taste. However, these sazones “spice packs” are packed with sodium. When educating about salt, this is a great thing to discuss.

  • When discussing bread, make sure you ask what type of bread as it may be fried, full of sugar or very large in portion.

  • Be sensitive about how you discuss rice—as brown rice or quinoa may not be 1) available 2) affordable nor 3) tasty. You can ask the client what they think!


Fruits have sugar – should they be avoided in people with diabetes?

The short answer is no: fruits have a lot of nutritional benefits and should be encouraged, but only in moderation!

The more nuanced answer (from Mayo Clinic):

“It's a common myth that if you have diabetes you shouldn't eat certain foods because they're ‘too sweet.’ Some fruits do contain more sugar than others, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them if you have diabetes.

The total amount of carbohydrates in a food affects blood sugar levels more than does the source of carbohydrates or whether the source is a starch or sugar. One serving of fruit should contain 15 grams of carbohydrates. The size of the serving depends on the carbohydrate content of the fruit.

 The advantage of eating a low-carbohydrate fruit is that you can consume a larger portion. But whether you eat a low-carb or high-carb fruit, as long as the serving size contains 15 grams of carbohydrates, the effect on your blood sugar is the same. The following fruit servings contain about 15 grams of carbohydrates:

  • 1/2 medium apple or banana

  • 1 cup blackberries

  • 3/4 cup blueberries

  • 1 cup raspberries

  • 1 1/4 cup whole strawberries

  • 1 cup cubed cantaloupe or honeydew melon”



●     DASH Diet (Hypertension): link

●     What is Sodium: link

●     Health Food Choices in Diabetes (American Diabetes Association): link

POST-MODULE QUIZ LINK:  https://forms.gle/PNnZzTy2cC5P15dY8

 This is a mandatory quiz to be completed upon reviewing this week’s materials.

It is only graded for completion, so take the quiz for your learning!