Nutrition by Nancy

Ohio Kiwanian goes online to lead hands-on prep for healthful snacks.

By Lori Roberts 

She calls herself Nancy the Nutrition Nut. Spend a couple of minutes chatting with her and you’ll understand why.

Nancy Parkinson, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Oxford, Ohio, is a registered dietitian and nutritionist who also serves as an associate clinical lecturer at Miami University. For several years, she did in-class nutrition presentations for K-Kids and Builders Clubs in the local Talawanda school district.Put her in front of a group, and the enthusiasm is contagious. 

“If you’re not excited about it, how are they going to get excited about it?” she says.

Enter the COVID-19 shutdown. With children learning virtually, there seemed to be no way for Parkinson to continue her in-person classroom presentations. That didn’t stop her, though. She created a presentation of “Naanstop Snacks” using the traditional flatbread. Her Miami University students helped research ingredients and prepare handouts. Her husband, Scott, helped gather the ingredients, which were sorted into 60 prep kits containing four naan breads; individual packets of marinara and parmesan cheese for naan pizzas; relish, mayonnaise and a can of cooked chicken for a chicken salad naan topping; and packets of honey, sun butter and a banana for sweet or savory naan snacks. They also threw in two bowls, two plates and a rubber spatula. The Oxford Kiwanis Club covered the US$15-per-kit cost.

Parkinson presented “Naanstop Snacks” in January. K-Kids members signed up through their schools and arranged to pick up the prep kits in advance. They tuned in to follow along with their favorite nutrition nut, often pulling in siblings or parents for the virtual presentation. In March and April, Parkinson made spicy pineapple salsa online for members of K-Kids, Builders Club, Key Club and Circle K International, again using prep kits covered by the Oxford Kiwanis club.

“It was great to have 60 children online making a snack in their kitchens,” Parkinson says.

Parkinson expects to continue working with students virtually, which gives their families a chance to interact as well. She wants to include seasonal items like apples for applesauce, and she hopes to encourage families to grow their own food with hydroponic gardens for fresh herbs for their meals. Any time Parkinson can get people excited about nutrition, she’s going to jump on it.

“We were forced to figure out how to have an in-class cooking experience virtually. I think we did a great job figuring it out.”


This story originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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