Trader Joe’s has contributed up to $100 of merchandise a month to Boise State University Health Services. MarLee Harris, the campus dietitian, selects food for campus Pop Up Tasting each month.
Pop Up Tastings allow students and employees to taste new, healthy food at convenient locations, including Campus Recreation, the Library, Residence Halls and other locations around campus. Previous Pop Ups include popcorn, infused waters, juice spritzers, fruits and veggies, and oatmeal packets.
“Our goal is to expose people to new, convenient, healthy, delicious food,” said Harris. “Healthy can be affordable and delicious.”
Harris has student interns that help her man the Pop Up Tastings, develop recipes that appeal to students, and more. One popular tasting was sweet potato chips with black bean salsa. Intern Sara MacCallum, a kinesiology student and aspiring dietitian, developed the recipe for the salsa.
“One of the most important lessons I have taken away from working with MarLee is that if you are looking to eat better or healthier, the way to do it is not through dieting, eliminating foods, or eliminating food groups,” said MacCallum. “The minute you begin to avoid foods and take them out of your regular diet you are creating a negative relationship with food which is not good. Instead, make sure you are including all of your food groups. It’s ok to eat desserts, chips, sodas, etc. The key is to have a good relationship with food, “balance your plate,” and eat everything in moderation.”
The Pop Up Tastings gave many people “a glimpse into what healthy eating is and how being nutritious doesn’t mean you have to eliminate food groups and only eat fruits and vegetables,” stated MacCallum. “I think many people are scared away by the term “healthy,” thinking it will taste bad or won’t be “real food.” Our goal was to educate students on basic nutrition needs as well as fun and easy ways to make good food choices and enjoy eating in the process. I feel Trader Joe’s has had a huge impact in helping us accomplish this.”
“I feel the Trader Joe’s partnership has been very beneficial for both parties,” said MacCallum. “I think a lot of students had never been to Trader Joe’s. Our food samples helped people discover the unique and tasty products Trader Joe’s offers.”
“Trader Joe’s has facilitated student opportunities as well as exposure and access to affordable, nutritious food,” added Harris. “We look forward to continuing our partnership during the 2017-2018 year.”
To request a Pop Up Tastings near you, contact Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the dietitian services offered through Health Services.