BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — This summer, graduate students and dietetic interns from UB’s Clinical and Nutritional Program are stationed inside the Tops on Jefferson Avenue.
“Especially when you have a food desert, making sure you get adequate nutrition, so getting your vitamines and your minerals whenever you do get those groceries because you may not have the opportunity to get them very often,” said Jessica Nlewis, one of the UB graduate students that was tabling on Friday.
While some shoppers are hesitant on returning to the store after the tragedy on May 14th, these students want to lend a hand in helping shoppers lead a healthy lifestyle.
“Choosing a store that is in a food desert, we like to focus more on foods that will last a little bit longer, and still pack in that nutrition.” said Nlewis.
One helpful tip they teach–buying frozen foods.
According to the graduate students, they have the same nutritional value as fresh foods, but can last much longer, and for communities with food insecurity, this could help.
“There’s a lot of science that goes into learning about nutrition but overall the average application is relatively simple,” said Thomas Romack, Dietetic Intern at UB. “It’s the very mundane and cliché, eat your fruits and vegetables, eat proteins, whole foods, get your nuts and see, things like that.”
For shoppers like Charlotte Johnson, who has diabetes, she says this type of knowledge helps her keep it under control, and has been for 20 years.
“I have it under control because I eat all the right things,” said Johnson. “I think it’s a good thing for them to be out here and to let them know what they case use. If you need any type of information to do with diabetes, it is really helpful.”
Johnson, along with her sister and mother shop at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue, every week together and encourage others to return to the store.
“It’s beautiful,” said Johnson. “You don’t have to be afraid to come out because I’m safe. God has out backs. It’s good to come out and step out and let them know we can try this again.”
For Johnson’s sister, Leslie Thomas, she’s thankful the store is open again, so they can continue to keep their family healthy.
“It feels like a blessing, amazing, a miracle again,” said Thomas. “I am so glad that we are open because this is where my mom comes and gets her medicine. I don’t have to drive miles and miles way to go pick up her medicine.”
Every week, the graduate students will return to the store, offering health expertise and different topics and diseases.
For more information, head to the University’s website here.