I’m sure you have all heard of my social impact initiative, “Healthy Nutrition for a Stronger Generation”, which I created originally for my involvement with the Miss Missouri and Miss America Organization. After all, it’s the name of my website! My purpose in writing this blog is to give you a general overview of my main objective and vision for Healthy Nutrition for a Stronger Generation, so you are able to understand it yourself and maybe even pass it on to your friends/family!
Back in the summer of 2019 l watched Simone Esters win the Miss Missouri competition and decided it was something I wanted to pursue myself. Every candidate has a social impact initiative, so with some brainstorming and the help of my mom Teresa, Healthy Nutrition for a Stronger Generation was born. My inspiration stemmed from my passion to pursue dietetics at Mizzou (fast-forward almost two years and I am starting the Coordinated Program in Dietetics this fall!), but my platform wasn’t fully developed quite yet.
It took competing in a couple local pageants to understand what I wanted to convey in my message, so I started a website and began blogging about why I wanted to do Miss Missouri, different recipes I enjoyed, and any topic related to nutrition that interested me. Over the past year-and-a-half as a local titleholder through the Miss Missouri/Miss America Scholarship Organization, I have come up with one sentence to describe what I want Healthy Nutrition for a Stronger Generation to be both now (for the state competition in June!) and for my future career as a dietitian:
Healthy Nutrition for a Stronger Generation is an initiative to educate children and adults from all backgrounds on why nutrition is important and how it can fit into their everyday lives both simply and affordably. Now that you know my main objective, let’s dive a little deeper into this concept of nutrition education.
Since I have become interested in dietetics, I have learned so much about society’s outlook on nutrition and what is/isn’t common knowledge when it comes to food and fueling our bodies. There are so many factors that affect nutrition, but one that comes to mind immediately is socioeconomic status. This can be a huge barrier to having access to education about food and the ability to buy simple groceries. Many people live in areas called “food deserts”, which are neighborhoods and even whole cities that are in a location lacking a fully stocked grocery store. Those living in these areas oftentimes must rely on convenience stores, fast-food restaurants, and occasional food pantries to meet their nutritional needs. Unfortunately, places like these almost always fall short. Helping people understand what a food desert is and how they can help with this problem is so important!
Another huge issue is learning how to shop affordably. Many people I talk to have told me that eating healthy is too expensive, and it’s easier to choose prepackaged foods that are quick and cheap. This is where education comes in. It is so important that people understand how to navigate the produce section without getting overwhelmed by all the labels for “farm fresh” and “organic” options that don’t necessarily provide you with anymore nutrition than regular brands, but cost twice as much. Teaching people how to shop smart and look for in-season produce can make all the difference.
I will talk more in later posts about the different aspects of nutrition education, but to keep this blog from being too long I’ll stop with this: I plan to continue making Healthy Nutrition for a Stronger Generation a reality even after my involvement with Miss Missouri/Miss America has come to an end (whenever that may be!). As a future dietitian, my career will be centered around nutrition education and I am so excited to continue this journey towards making this generation (and the ones that come after!) as healthy as they can be!