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Exploring the meaning behind food labels

Students apply class lessons to provide grocery store tours for CMU staff


​​​​​​​Kelsey Morse's dream is to work in community nutrition education. The Central Michigan University junior from Midland and two fellow dietetics program​classmates are putting their nutrition coaching skills to the test, providing grocery store tours for CMU staff. The project is part of their independent study fieldwork with the university's employee wellness program. ​

CMU dietetics students are required to conduct fieldwork as part of their independent study. This semester, students chose between providing nutrition education during CMU-sponsored exercise classes at the Student Activity Center or collaborating with the athletics department and the university's employee wellness program, Your Health – It's Central.

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Morse and classmates Kristin Nelson, a junior from Homer, and Jill Klein, a senior from Muskegon, led CMU staff on tours of Mount Pleasant's Kroger store. Groups of four or five people walked through each section of the store, talked about meal options or healthy snacks, dispelled myths and discussed questions. The tours, which also are expected to be offered in the future, are a free ben​efit to staff participating in Your Health – It's Central.

"I want to work with the community when I graduate, so it is exciting to have this opportunity," Morse said. "Grocery store tours are important because you can ask questions you have never been able to ask about labels, vitamins and carbs in a small group of people."

The trio met with CMU human resources staff to plan and promote the tours across campus. They then used their skills and expertise in label reading, nutrition consulting and dietary restrictions to answer a range of questions, provide tips or direct people to additional resources.

"It's exciting to apply the knowledge and skills we are learning in class to help others make smart choices that could help prevent diseases," Klein said. "We hope participants take the information we provide each time they return to the grocery store." 


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