Nov. 21—Belinda Nicholas is on a mission — a mission to show people that eating healthy is possible with items found at local value stores.
Nicholas is a Nutrition Outreach Instructor with WVU Extension Services and has started teaching a class on how to do exactly that.
"What happens is people will just go in a value store and just a Slim Jim or something quick, " said Nicholas. "Even though they don't have fresh fruit and vegetables, you can still get frozen or even canned fruits and vegetables. The only thing I'm asking people is to go in there and think healthy."
In the class, Nicholas shows how to make food from recipes using ingredients commonly found at value stores. Nicholas said things like salmon cakes, chicken tenders, and even parfaits with homemade granola are all possible to make in a healthy way.
"We did a whole meal without meat, " she said. "We started out with pickled beet hummus, then broccoli cheese soup, and we did a smoothie for dessert."
The class also touches on how to use coupons and the importance of unit pricing—not only at value stores, but so you can be knowledgeable at other stores as well. Nicholas said she wanted to cover things people would enjoy and understand.
"I really want families to stop and eat healthy, " Nicholas said. "Of course they have cookies and candy in there and I'm not saying don't eat it. What I'm saying is, choose healthy first."
Nicholas' next class will be from 10 a.m.-noon Nov. 23 at Christian Help on Walnut Street. "I love being at Christian Help, " she said, adding everyone there has "really been wonderful."
Nicholas said this first group of women has really helped her develop the class into a fun-filled learning environment. "These beautiful women have told me what works and what doesn't work, " Nicholas said. "I cannot tell you how fun this program that I'm doing is. By the time you leave my class you will be laughing."
The class is six to eleven weeks and is absolutely free to anyone in the community.
Nicholas will host a night class starting Dec. 1m beginning at 6 p.m. at the WVU Extension Services office at 270 Mylan Park Lane Suite 250 in Morgantown.
Nicholas said she will also hold a class in Preston County in the near future.
"I'm doing this because I really want to see people eating healthy at a value store, " Nicholas said. "And I really want the community to see WVU Extension at it's best." Nicholas said she appreciates the help and support from Christian Help and from her colleague Karin Kozlowski and superiors Gina Wood and Dean Jorge Atiles of WVU Extension Services.
For more information or to sign up for this free class call Nicholas at WVU Extension Services at 304-291-7201. Space in the classes are limited.