Fanshawe students win Canadian Society of Nutrition Management competition

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: FANSHAWE COLLEGE
Keiana Bergen (left) and Caitlin Mair (right)

Fanshawe’s Nutrition and Food Service Management (FNM) students, Keiana Bergen and Caitlin Mair placed first and third respectively in the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM) 2021 student national competition. For her first-place win, Bergan has also been invited to participate in CSNM’s conference and annual general meeting this June in Saskatoon.

This year, the objective for each contestant was to prepare a Thanksgiving meal plan at a long-term care facility where a COVID-19 outbreak had occurred. Fanshawe’s FNM program coordinator, Tracy Rieger further explained the work the students put in.

“They had to be innovative, creative and be able to problem solve,” said Rieger. “So they’re given a case study or a problem that’s related to the industry and they have to present their solution to the issue. They have to think, ‘If I was in the workplace, working in the role of a nutrition manager, what would I do? How would I approach this situation?’ So it really challenges them to be innovative, creative problem solvers.”

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Third-place winner Mair, who has since graduated from the FNM program, said the competition involved various steps.

“Each part was judged separately,” she explained. “So first, we have to come with the Thanksgiving menu. Now I work in a long-term care, so I know that every menu in long-term care needs to have two options. So, I decided to choose turkey and ham as my two options. They each came with stuffing and mashed potatoes. I believe one came with carrots and another with peas. Then, you usually start all the meals with soup, so I chose to do butternut squash and apple soup.”

In the second part of the competition, the students had to write down and modify every item on their menu. “In a long-term care facility, you have to consider regular texture, and you have minced, and moisture and you have purees, so that each and every one of the menu items had to be changed to make sure that each and every one of those texture diets can have it. In addition, we also had to make sure we could feed our guests here. They’re not just our residents who were gluten-free and diabetic. So, we would make modifications like gluten free gravy and stuffing. And then for diabetics, we would typically half the portion of the starches.”

The mock-up scale was made up of roughly 150 residents. “I have already worked in a long-term care home during an outbreak, so I kind of understood what needed to be done,” said Mair. “You know, like make sure everything is recyclable, and that dishes weren’t reusable and that there was less back and forth with dirty COVID dishes.” Moreover, Mair said she was extremely proud of graduating from Fanshawe. “There was a couple thousand people in this competition, because it was the national competition. But Fanshawe is the highest-rated school in Canada, our program for Food and Nutrition Management scores 98 per cent in all of the entire score of what it takes to be a proper program. So we score the highest in all categories. So, Food and Nutrition graduates that come out of our program are wanted all over Canada, and they’re very well trained.”

Rieger shared Mair’s sentiments and expressed pride at the students’ success.

“I love it when a Fanshawe College student wins,” Rieger said. “I think it’s a great representation of the quality of our programming and shows that our students are super professional and ready for the work, they’re ready to achieve in the workplace. I am super proud of our students!”