Easy, Low-Cost Cookbook Developed Just For our Seniors!

UVM Nursing Students worked with participants at the Champlain Senior Center and they provided us with a final cookbook to share with you!

It’s loaded with information about healthy eating choices, tips for saving money and lots of delicious recipes to inspire healthy eating.

Guest Blog Post written by UVM nursing student Michael Reynolds:

As part of our senior practicum in Public Health Nursing, ten UVM nursing students were assigned to the Champlain Senior Center under the direction of Ellen Watson, APRN, FNP. Our chief task was to develop an “Intervention Project” that targeted the needs of the older adult population and would (1) yield real outcomes, (2) be needed/relevant, and (3) provide an outcome that is durable or sustainable. Five of us decided to develop and share a cookbook of “Healthy Snacks” for the older adult population, which evolved into an educational cookbook that went beyond snacks to educate (and motivate) older adults to take control of their diets.

Each week, we made enough food for all members present to sample, and even though we didn’t officially track attendance, it seemed as though more people showed up every week to sample the food! We also provided recipes each week to ensure that our project met the goal of sustainability, giving people the tools to make these meals at home. The meals were also needed and relevant, as Sarah Carter had identified nutrition as an issue of that Senior Center members identified as important.

From February to March, our group (Mike Reynolds, Mary Rowley, Lily Peterson, Katie Barber, and Calie Hubert) chose snacks and meals that would be both easy to prepare and nutritious for the population served by the Senior Center. Each week, we researched unique meals and prepared them on Wednesday mornings at the Senior Center. During that time, we prepared and shared the following foods at the Senior Center:

  • Sweet Potato Nachos
  • Healthy Banana Muffins\Banana Bread
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie
  • Homemade Granola
  • Banana Walnut Cookies
  • Baked Kale Chips
  • Asian Cole Slaw
  • Vegetarian Ema Datshi, a traditional Bhutanese dish

We extended our weekly food preparation to a full-scale cookbook and on our final day at the Senior Center, we presented a 40-page color cookbook containing 25 recipes and brief articles on eating on a budget, heart-healthy eating, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes. Based on research and knowledge gained in nursing school, we included an easy-to-follow key to help people with specific health concerns locate recipes that best apply. Specifically, we categorized based on meals that are inexpensive, heart-friendly, low-fat, high-fiber, or diabetes-appropriate.

With this cookbook, we were able to meet all of our goals and hopefully benefit this active and inspirational group of Burlington-area residents. We really enjoyed working with everyone!