AVON PARK - Students and the community had a taste of homemade granola bars, flavored water, pumpkin tofu custard, white bean dip and more healthy eats Thursday at South Florida State College's first Food Day.
The event was held in the SFSC University Center Lobby along with an associated Chalk the Walk student art contest on the sidewalk outside the center.
Allied Health Associate Dean Rebecca Sroda explained that the Food Day event allows students to learn and have an opportunity to meet with the public, which is one of the goals in the state's curriculum that all the allied health programs follow.
Rene Vermette, who recently relocated to Sebring from Massachusetts, heard about the food event from a neighbor.
"It's very interesting," he said. "We tried out that hydration food drink, that was good. We tried some of the turkey and that was good."
After getting out of class, sophomore April Jones tried the preservative-free ground beef from Publix that was prepared with a few spices.
"It's natural; It tastes good to me," she said.
She tries to eat healthy, but has been eating pizza all week.
"So I don't know how healthy that is," Jones said. "I've had pizza for like three days in a row now, pizza, pizza, pizza ... I am about ready to take a break from pizza."
On the healthy side of eating, Jones loves broccoli, carrots and potatoes prepared in a variety of ways such as boiled, scalloped and mashed. She likes greens such as lettuce and collard greens.
"I love my vegetables," Jones said.
Sroda said nutrition is a common theme among all the Allied Health programs so National Food Day is a great opportunity, she said.
The nursing programs featured infused water and healthy snacks. The medical assistant program promoted backyard gardens. The dental assistant program advised about the concerns of sodas and fatty foods and the radiography program addressed bone health and colon issues.
Sophomore Nicole Munoz got one of the zucchini seedlings that were being offered for free, but she didn't know what it was.
"I am just going to see what I can get out of it," she said.
She has been to a couple of meetings this week where pizza is served, but she doesn't eat pizza, Munoz said. She brings a protein bar to eat instead.
"I watch what I eat, I actually do and all my friends really don't," she said.
Munoz said she frequently snacks on fruits and her mother prepares healthy meals.
As students and community members ate the healthy samples, a couple of people wandered in with pizza, which was being given away outside the Panther Gym prior to a pep rally for the girls volleyball team.
Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food.
According to foodday.org, across the U.S. more than 4,500 events in all 50 states were scheduled to take place on and around Oct. 24. Food Day has dozens of partnership organizations including Farm Aid and The National Wellness Institute.