With almost a year of graduate school under my belt, I’ve taken some time to reflect on my understanding of nutrition, how my views and knowledge have developed and expanded, and how greater systems impact individual health. Aside from addressing the clinical manifestations and treatments of nutrition-related illnesses, my classes have challenged me to identify social and environmental influences on nutritional status. My professors’ lectures and discussions have led me to a gradual (and still evolving) understanding of the “whole picture” of nutrition that will certainly impact how I approach my practice of dietetics in the future. Often, a nutrition-related issue is not the product of one tangible issue, but instead, the result of numerous factors.
Perhaps one of the most interesting projects my classmates and I will complete involves creating a hypothetical ready-to-use therapeutic food, or RUTF, for a food insecure population. With specific fat, protein, and micronutrient compositions, RUTFs aim to address nutrition-related issues that dramatically affect certain populations, such as deficiencies in Vitamin A, iodine, or iron, or stunting, wasting, and protein and energy malnutrition. Most of our concoctions contain oils, nuts, and sweeteners to meet RUTF guidelines, such as the “Nutri Joy,” an Almond Joy-esque spread with chocolate, almond butter, and coconut created by a few of my classmates.
This project, and the flavors my classmates used, inspired today’s recipe. And while I can’t say my trail mix is qualified to be an RUTF, I figured I’d couple my usual recipe post with a little “food” for thought…
Almond Joy Trail Mix
- 2 cups almonds
- 2 cups sunflower seeds
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Mix ingredients together in a large bowl until evenly distributed. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and enjoy as a snack!
Enjoy the holiday weekend!