March is designated as National Nutrition Month, and to promote healthful eating the Foods and Nutrition Program recently invited the community’s registered dietitians for a luncheon recognizing their efforts in the city.

Special guest Mayor Mike Murphy presented a proclamation from the City of Merced stating, “I encourage all citizens to recognize the contributions of registered dietitian nutritionists, and express appreciation for their commitment to promoting science-based nutrition in the hope of achieving optimum health for both today and tomorrow.”

Caption for Photo Above: Mayor of Merced Mike Murphy joins his wife Heather (middle) and Foods and Nutrition professor Michelle Pecchenino to recognize the efforts of local registered dieticians and nutritionists.

Dietitians from Mercy Hospital, the Women Infant and Children Program, DaVita Dialysis, the Merced County Department of Public Health, and Merced College shared a heart healthy meal prepared by Foods and Nutrition students in the Quantity Foods course.

Lead students John Myers and Delores Zavala teamed up to plan the meal, set the tables, and provide their classmates with tasks for the event. Beautiful succulents were donated by the Plant Science Department and placemats were designed by preschoolers at the Child Development Center. Assorted homemade desserts were prepared by Chef Ben Saewert and his Nutrition 50 Beginning Baking course. Chef Caleb Reemer of Fresh Seasons Café provided direction and guidance to students.

“This is truly a collaboration within our campus and community” said Michelle Pecchenino, registered dietitian and coordinator of the program. “I am proud that we are able to host this annual event and provide hands-on experiences for our students.”

Foods and Nutrition alumnus Gerardo Lozano, who recently graduated from CSU Fresno and is currently applying for dietetic internships, provided some valuable advice for those who plan to transfer. Students also benefited from networking with the professionals in the field to help guide their paths for when they leave Merced College.

For more information on the Foods and Nutrition program contact Professor Pecchenino at Ext. 6056.

This article originally appeared in the Campus Digest, April 2017 issue.

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