Tag Archives: national nutrition month


As a special feature of DC Food Justice for Women’s History Month and National Nutrition Month, community leaders in the food justice movement will be showcased. This month’s focus is on the role of women in advocating for their communities to improve quality of life through food and nutrition.


by Tambra Stevenson


WASHINGTON, DCIn saluting women making a difference in the food justice movement, this week’s food fighter is Evelyn Crayton, EdD, RD, LD, a pioneer in opening doors for women in the field of nutrition. I met her during the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program National Conference  hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC in February.

Standing in the middle of the room, Dr. Crayton made an announcement that Auburn University in conjunction with Dominican University were offering Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways, a new program through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her goal is to increase the number of Extension Agents and people of color in becoming Registered Dietitians given the changing landscape in nutrition to have the credentials.

With only 3 percent of African-American Registered Dietitians in the United States, creating more opportunities like the ISSP are critically important to combat the diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension in the most impacted communities, mostly of color.

One door was opened for Charmaine Jones, a student at the University of the District of Columbia, working for the public policy office of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  After not being selected  for a dietetic internship through the DICAS system, Charmaine applied and was accepted into the ISPP because of Dr. Crayton. As an alternate route to sit for the Registered Dietitian exam, ISSPs are more affordable, flexible, and still provide the preceptor-led experiences giving students up to three years to complete.

Presently there are more students pursuing the field of dietetics than there are slots available for dietetic internships. For instance in 2009, 4799 applicants applied for 2503 openings leaving a 50% match rate, which is the lowest in computer matching history for dietetics and not getting lower each year. That contrasts the 73% match rate in 2003. Once accepted many programs want tuition paid up front and don’t accept federal loans, or offer financial assistance leaving students, particularly of color, in a pinch.

Sharing her impact by our food fighter, Charmaine states: “Dr. Evelyn Crayton is not only a mentor, but an angel from heaven who whispered, “Never to give up on your dreams no matter how tough the road seems ahead.”

A Louisiana native, Dr. Crayton serves as the assistant director for family and community programs for Alabama Cooperative Extension Services based at Auburn University. In bringing her on to the new post, Dr. Sam Fowler, Extension associate director, rural and traditional programs stated: “She is internationally recognized for her work in both nutrition and health. We feel that Dr. Crayton will be able to provide very effective leadership for both family and community programs and that both of these important areas will continue to be part of our core programs in Extension.”

Graduating in the 1960s at Grambling State University, the proud mom of three and wife of 40-plus years received her dietetics license and later earned her master’s degree in dietetics in 1972 from St. Louis University. Afterwards she gained 5 years of clinical nutrition experience working St. Louis-based hospitals.  In the ‘90s, she earned her doctorate in vocational and adult education from Auburn University in 1991.


Tambra Stevenson is the President of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia where she was selected a recent Verizon Scholar.  She can be reached via Twitter @tambra.


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Food fit for a Queen


Vanessa Bell Calloway starring in 'Coming to America'

by Tambra Stevenson

Who doesn’t remember the scene in “Coming to America” when Oha sings ‘She is your Queen to be’ at the wedding of Prince Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy)? Like the Prince’s queen-to-be with the glowing radiant skin, you too can enhance your health and beauty with okra. Yes, okra!

In ancient Egyptian times, African queens even before Cleopatra ate okra, also known as lady fingers, to maintain their beautiful skin. Native to Africa, okra came to America during the Atlantic slave trade.

These globetrotting slippery pods have real health benefits. The smooth texture lubricates the intestines while its fiber prevents constipation. Also okra helps to detoxify chemicals in the liver and contains naturally occurring glutathione that supports the immune system.

Packed with iron and calcium, okra is also a good source of vitamin A and C. Okra’s vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail asthmatic symptoms.

In the American south, okra can be found in a bowl of New Orleans-style gumbo or simply fried in corn meal. Though a southern vegetable of choice, okra is enjoyed in east Indian dishes fried in a spice mix with onions and tomato or served in vegetable curries.

So for this National Nutrition Month, get your plate in shape by making half of it with vegetables and fruits. You can start with this recipe and treat yourself like a queen with a radiating dish of lady fingers and tomatoes.

RECIPE: Okra and Tomatoes

30 minutes total cooking time; 6 servings per recipe okra


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 pound frozen sliced okra (or fresh okra)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with no added salt (or 3 fresh chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes with no added salt (or 6 fresh chopped tomatoes)


  1. Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste (or Braggs Liquid Aminos) Cover the bottom of a skillet with the olive oil and place over medium heat.
  1. Place the garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper in the skillet and stir until fragrant. Stir in the green pepper.
  2. Cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the frozen okra and allow to cook for 5 minutes more.
  4. Stir in both the diced and the stewed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving: 66 Calories; 1.1g Total Fat; 0 mg Cholesterol; 312 mg Sodium; 13.1g Total Carbohydrates; Fiber 3.9g; 2.8g Protein

Tambra Stevenson is the President of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia. You can follow her on Twitter at @tambra.

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Local Group Kickoff National Nutrition Month

by Tambra Stevenson

WASHINGTON, DC—In celebration of National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Day, the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association, an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy), will host an event at the IONA House in northwest Washington on March 14th at 6:30pm.

In the US Obesity Trends 2011 report, the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention finds that poor nutrition is a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic in America with over 30 percent of US adults and about 17 percent of youth are obese. Locally the District of Columbia ranks in the top 10 states in America for high rates of childhood obesity according to the F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011 report.

That’s why the Academy  (formerly the American Dietetic Association) launches the annual nutrition educational campaign in March.  This year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape” to encourage balanced nutritious meals.

In educating the public about the shift from the My Pyramid to the My Plate, the Academy and local groups like DCMADA and the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia host public outreach efforts to promote evidence-based nutrition information for people to improve their lives.

Like My Plate, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommend eating whole foods: fruits, vegetables, grains, seafood and low-fat dairy. And they also encourage reducing sodium, added sugars, trans fats, and refined grains. Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviews and adopts the guidelines.

To attend the DCMADA event, register online at http://dcmadanutritionmonth2012.eventbrite.com/. To get more nutrition tips, visit National Nutrition Month‘s website. In addition this month, Academy members will be voting for a new President and Board. The deadline is this Saturday. Voting is online at http://www.eatright.org/elections/.

Program Agenda

Keynote Speaker

Jessica Donze Black, MPH, RD, Director, Kids Safe and Healthful Food Project – The Pew Charitable Trusts

“Setting Consumers’ Tables with MyPlate: The Critical Role of RDs”

Robert C. Post, Ph.D, M.Ed, M.Sc, Deputy Director of USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) and responsible for overseeing the planning, development, review and promotion of the new MyPlate consumer communications initiative

“What’s On Our Seniors’ Plates?”

Rose Clifford, RD, LD, MBA, Owner, Corn Hill Consulting LLC and nutrition consultant at IONA Senior Services

“Serving Farm-Fresh Food in Schools and Getting Kids to Eat It!”

Andrea Northup, Director of the DC Farm to School Network and advocate for getting healthy, local foods and food education into DC schools.

Tambra Stevenson is the President of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia. Follow her on Twitter at @tambra.

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Student group prepares for campus-wide nutrition programs

by Tambra Stevenson

Members share their culinary skills for a heart healthy cause

WASHINGTON, DC—Students snack on scrumptious crème-filled strawberries and oatmeal cookies—a sampling of culinary creations prepared by the Culinary Crew part of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia. Housed within the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, SDA hosts this month’s Lunch and Learn with a focus on heart health in celebrating Valentine’s Day. As part of its outreach efforts, SDA posts their program flyers with healthy tips to protect heart health. This month’s flyers shares 14 ways to show yourself some love:

  1. Learn proper portion size.
  2. Vary your meals. Do something different today!
  3. Eat a nourishing breakfast – whole grain, raw nuts, fruits.
  4. Keep healthy snacks around – veggies, whole fruits, raw nuts.
  5. Don’t fight stress by eating. Journal, walk or talk it out.
  6. Drink plenty of fresh water. Reduce plastics.
  7. Limit sugary & caffeinated beverages – soda, juice & coffee.
  8. Try to eat fruits and veggies.
  9. Limit junk food – candy bars, chips, & cookies.
  10. Make it easy to eat right. Prepare, Plan & Prevent.
  11. Don’t skip meals. Keep balanced daily energy.
  12. Indulge every once in a while.
  13.  Take your vitamins and minerals.
  14. Get help for eating disorders.

Because of its public relations outreach efforts, SDA continues to increase its membership and participation exponentially over the past year. “We want more students to know that careers in nutrition and dietetics are rewarding personally and professionally,” said Seanita Terry, SDA member. “This moment is the best time to launch a career in nutrition, given the need to improve the health of our future—the children.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Open to members and the wider campus community, military veterans-turned-nutrition students representing the Navy and Marine Corps. During the meeting they express their interests in pursuing a career in dietetics. For one member she looks forward to the programming and meeting more new visitors. . In preparing for the Spring semester, SDA member set their program activities which include educating the campus community on careers in nutrition and food issues. “The Lunch and Learn is a great first meeting for the semester,” says Regina Robinson, SDA member and Vice President of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Relates Sciences.  “It is nice to get to meet new faces of SDA. I look forward to visiting the USDA nutrition labs, the Symposium on Food & Behavior and the Food and Film Festival.”

Providing an overview of the Spring 2012 calendar, the program line-up included campus and community events:

  • February 24 @ 10am: Field Trip to the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, MD
  • March 13 @ 3pm: SDA’s Food Film Fest in CAUSES, Building 44, Room A03
  • March 14 @ 6pm: DCMADA’s event at IONA House, 4125 Albemarle Street, Washington, DC 20016
  • April TBD: Symposium on Food and Behavior in CAUSES, Building 44, Room A03
  • April TBD: SDA Leadership Awards Ceremony in CAUSES, Building 44, Room A03
  • May 17 @ 9am: Agricultural Fair for DC Public Schools, Beltsville, MD

During National Nutrition Month, SDA has ongoing projects such as a global seasonal cookbook and a campus-based grassroots campaign to promote careers in nutrition. This year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape,” which more information is available at http://www.eatright.org/nnm.

Members plan programs for the Spring 2012

The Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia is a professional student organization working to enhance leadership/professional development opportunities and networking relationships between faculty, staff, local professional organizations, and the dietetic student body. They assist graduating seniors into rewarding internships, graduate degree programs and successful careers within the nutrition and dietetics profession. Dedicated to upholding the legacy of the dietetics profession, SDA is leading a new generation into becoming true professionals in action. The SDA’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/eatrightUDC.

Tambra Stevenson is the President of the Student Dietetic Association at the University of the District of Columbia where she is refreshing her media skills by taking a web journalism course. You can follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/Tambra or email her at tambra.stevenson@alumni.tufts.edu.

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