Healthy cooking on a college budget
By Scott Harkey
Marge Condrasky, a professor and registered dietitian, has been cooking great food in healthy ways for a long time.
Working with nutrition for nearly 20 years, Condrasky has been teaching college students, faculty and staff how to enjoy their favorite foods in healthier ways.
“I really like to focus on the little things in food and how to make it taste good, because for people to eat it, it has to taste good,” she said.
She also enjoys researching what it is that students enjoy eating, understanding their wants and needs for daily nutrition and working in a program called “Cooking with a Chef,” creating healthy menus for local churches.
Coming here from Greenville Tech in 2001, where she founded the culinary arts program, Condrasky now focuses on culinary nutrition in the food, nutrition and packaging sciences department. Working in three main areas — food service management, community nutrition and clinical nutrition, she has used her lifetime of experience to facilitate learning for the Clemson community.
She leads several student Creative Inquiry teams, the first focusing on creating and modifying recipes with more whole wheat items that also taste good. “It needs to have that ‘wow’ factor,” Condrasky said, “Without that, people will not eat it.”
The second team, in community nutrition, focuses on breakfast in Pickens County schools and creating whole wheat items with proper vegetable portions for elementary school students. The team is working on a “veggie” biscuit and a banana chocolate chip muffin, with a hint of zucchini in it.
The third study is on lower calorie options for obese children in the Greenville Hospital System.
“We have to remember that these are children, and taste cannot be ignored, but instead balanced with the right nutrition,” Condrasky said.
The dietitian also aims to serve as a resource to the faculty, staff and students who enjoy tailgating at Clemson. Working with Susan Pope at Fike Recreation Center, she heads up “Healthy Education” tailgate programs to teach students new recipes and how to keep their favorite tailgate food healthier.
Condrasky reflects on why she is so drawn to help Clemson students eat healthy.
“I want people to cook more,” she said. “Here at Clemson, we are trying to engage people of all ages in using their kitchens, understanding basic ingredients and working to have food taste the best possible. That is the goal of our ‘Cooking with a Chef’ program under the CU CHEFS ™.”
With more tailgating to come in the football season, and Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, nutrition and eating healthy are on people’s minds. Everyone still wants his or her food to taste good, and if Condrasky has something to say about it, it definitely will.
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