Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Starting with the Recipes: Evaluation Process of Selecting Recipes Targeting Rural Southern Older Adults

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Starting with the Recipes: Evaluation Process of Selecting Recipes Targeting Rural Southern Older Adults

Article excerpt

High-quality nutrition education can extend quality of life, reduce suffering, and delay potential strains to the healthcare system (Kamp, 2010). Good nutrition is strongly associated with positive health outcomes and is an effective intervention for treating heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (Fishman, 1996). Regardless of nutrition practices, age-related factors such as decreased appetite, use of medications, and changes in metabolism influence dietary health (Wunderlich, McKinnon, Piemonte, & Ahmad, 2009). Therefore, education that leads to positive behavior modification can play an important role because older adults must adapt their changing nutritional needs to the aging process (Higgins & Barkley, 2003). A welldesigned nutrition education program can motivate participants to improve dietary practices by making healthy food choices that address lifestyle and financial resources (Higgins & Barkley, 2004). With many older adults living on a fixed-income, the cost of implementing recommended practices is an important factor for educators to consider when developing and delivering a program to older adults (O'Brien, Wu, & Baer, 2010).

The aim of this project was to choose appropriate recipes for rural, limited-income older adults in South Carolina to use in Cooking Healthy, Eating Smart (CHES), a nine-lesson curriculum developed by our research team and offered by Clemson University Extension agents through a USDA grant. Testing and choosing recipes for the program was given careful attention because our curriculum relies heavily on recipes and food demonstrations to produce behavior change.

Recipe Evaluation

Forty-six (46) recipes were categorized and evaluated for use in the program (see Table 1). Three Extension agents met to select recipes from various cookbooks and recipe websites. Researchers made their initial selection of recipes based on subjective criteria. Eleven Extension agents met to prepare, taste, and evaluate the 46 recipes, using an evaluation form for uniformity. They evaluated:

* Readability

* Likeliness of the participant to prepare

* Cost of the recipe

* Availability of ingredients to consumer

* Availability of equipment to prepare recipe

* Ease of chewing and preparation

* Taste

* Appearance

* Acceptability

The evaluation process allowed agents to critically review each recipe to determine its suitability for older adults. Using Nutritionist Pro 2010, each recipe also was analyzed for nutritional content including calories, milligrams of cholesterol and sodium, and grams of saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates, and protein per serving size (Nutritionist Pro, 2010).


The Extension agents concluded that 18 recipes were rated high on the above criteria. The resulting choices are in Table 2. The demonstration recipe was used by Extension agents as an example during their lessons. Additionally, the agents provided the CHES participants with a take-home recipe that supported the nutrition message outlined in the lesson. …

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