By Kimberly Cooper
The University of Houston Dining Services team hosted a Travel to Mars cooking demo at the Fresh Food Company in Moody Towers for the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Science Camp.
The camp offers sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders the opportunity to enhance their proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education while living on a college campus for two weeks during the summer.
This year, each student was responsible for creating a meal plan that would suit their nutritional needs if they were visiting Mars.
“My goal was to not only enhance their nutrition knowledge but to also show them that a healthy and delicious meal does not require an extensive amount of cooking even when traveling to Mars,” said Travis Ramirez, UH dietitian.
Students learned how to make a southwest black bean chili baked potato as a main entrée and a sweet potato with peaches for dessert.
“The sweet potato dessert is a baked sweet potato that is topped with sautéed peaches, walnuts and drizzled with honey,” said Ramirez. “Students enjoyed building their own potatoes with a variety of toppings and our chef demonstrated how to make the dishes in a microwave for an easy, nutritious meal.”
Students were also invited to ask Ramirez and other members of the dining team questions about nutrition and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“The students really enjoyed interacting, cooking and eating what they made with the chef,” said Mayte Rodriguez, lead program counselor for the camp, which is affiliated with TeachHouston. “The students were engaged and the cooking demo opened their eyes to making better food choices.”
Afterward, Ramirez reflected on his time spent with the students.
“I hope they enjoyed learning more about nutrition and cooking new recipes that they can make at home, “he said.