McNeese nutrition and dietetics students in the College of Agricultural Sciences are celebrating National Nutrition Month this March.
Ashley Morton, an agricultural sciences major with a concentration in nutrition and dietetics from Bossier City, is a member of the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND) at McNeese. Members of SAND work to promote the importance of nutrition in everyday life and provide education and resources to promote a healthy community in underserved populations.
“We work with Second Harvest Food Bank to aid in the nutrition issues in Lake Charles,” Morton explained. “We work with the food bank at a Mobile Market which is a healthy food ‘grocery store’ that sells fruits and vegetables at discounted prices so that lower-income families can afford healthier options.”
National Nutrition Month is an opportunity to share that proper nutrition helps build a stronger immune system, supports muscle growth, improves mental health, strengthens the body, helps increase energy and productivity and can lower the risk of some diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some types of cancer.
Morton says she chose nutrition and dietetics because she wanted to help people and she is interested in how the body reacts to different types of food.
“I have experienced improper nutrition and the impact it has not only on the body but also on mental health as well, and I would like to help prevent that for others,” she said.
McNeese has provided Morton with opportunities and experiences that would not have been available to her at another university. She chose McNeese because she wanted to study on a campus with a good support system and opportunities to grow. She found that at McNeese.
“The faculty and staff at McNeese want to see every student succeed and will go the extra mile to help someone,” Morton said. “Being at McNeese has helped me grow as a person so much. I am also able to make connections with so many people from different countries and backgrounds and have built so many amazing friendships.”
Morton would like to work as a community dietitian with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC (Women Infants and Children) to help educate families on proper nutrition and aid them in being able to afford foods to help them live a healthier and happier life.
“I would tell others considering nutrition and dietetics to go for it! It may not be the easiest major but it is so rewarding at the end of the day,” Morton explained. “No matter what field of dietetics you go into you are helping people and changing lives for the better!”