Make Healthy Eating Fun and Applicable

healthy eating

An unfortunate truth for many: Living a healthy lifestyle can’t be achieved only by eating well, and living a healthy lifestyle can’t be achieved by only working out. Rather, there must be a combination of the two.

Often, people understand the need of working out, but grunt at the idea of having to cook and eat healthy too — it’s hard to make that adjustment in lifestyle. Grabbing broccoli instead of pizza is hard enough, but trying to find time to cook the broccoli and plan a full meal around ingredients that you can’t just throw in the microwave is much harder.

The University of North Dakota (UND) empathizes with these problems, and in result created a demonstration kitchen in their Wellness Center called Culinary Corner — a program with a mission to, “Communicate evidence-based nutrition and cooking principles to the UND campus in a fun and applicable way.”

Students, Wellness Center members, faculty and staff, as well as university friends are welcome to attend the events. The instructors at the events range from university faculty to students to guest chefs, who each get to choose what they prepare — and all have a different specialty.

There are a variety of classes offered, ensuring that everyone can find a class that’s right for them.

Stephanie Hoffman, coordinator of fitness and nutrition, said one of the most popular classes for faculty is a crockpot cooking class — where people gather, put a recipe together, and walk away with a meal for $4 for $20.

For students, a staple is the “cheap, fast and healthy” class. It’s a free half-hour class for college students, teaching them healthy cooking techniques that they can utilize in their dorm or apartment so they can get on their way and get studying. These classes teach everything from how to make guacamole and Pico de Gallo to healthy pasta dishes —in addition to making these dishes in large portions, and for cheap.

Other classes offered are Kitchen Basics, Cultural Cooking, Cookin’ with the Kiddos and Vegan Cooking. These classes range in price from usually around $5 to $9.

Hoffman said the Cultural Cooking class proved to be one of the most popular classes last year. “Every month we feature a different culture, talk about food and culture and how food takes part of the culture,” she said. “The last class was our Indian class, and they made hummus and Indian rice.”

Vegan Cooking classes are offered monthly, teaching participants to cook balanced meals that contain no animal products.

Tiffany Sonterre is teaching the next Vegan Cooking class this Thursday, February 23. It’s her first time teaching the class, but she’s familiar with the Wellness Center — since she’s a Zumba instructor as well. She plans on making vegan spicy tuna rolls with tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and sushi rice with pickle ginger and wasabi on the side.

Sonterre said she loves to cook and bake on the side, and have her friends try new vegan meals. “They’re assuming I’m just feeding them raw kale, then they try it and they’re like, oh my gosh, this is so good,” Sonterre said. “I watch a lot of Food Network and always pretend I’m on Cut Throat Kitchen when I’m cooking — and I thought it’d be fun to teach other people or have a YouTube channel, and I wanted to start at Culinary Corner.”

Each class, participants are given a recipe card to walk away with so they can prepare the meal on their own, anytime. A list of recipes can also be found on their website under “Recipe Box.”

healthy eating

Give It a Try — A recipe from UND to try this week


  • 12 ounces ziti (or any pasta shape) · 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts) · Alfredo sauce · 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (2% low fat) · (optional toppings: additional shredded Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh parsley)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 2. Cook the pasta al dente in a large stockpot of well-salted boiling according to package instructions. Drain. Return pasta to the stockpot and add chicken and Alfredo sauce. Gently toss to combine until the pasta is evenly coated. 3. Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11×7-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of cheese. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. 4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings if desired

Karima Neghmouche can be contacted at


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