Lydia Steinman

Lydia Steinman

Department of Nutritional Sciences
Nutrition in the Kitchen aka “Cook ‘em

Project Update

The Nutrition in the Kitchen project, aka Cook ‘em, asks students to create an online collection of instructional videos that use cooking demonstrations to educate viewers in the preparation of nutritious, student-friendly dishes, while also incorporating small nuggets of nutritional science that build a conceptual understanding of healthy eating. The project has been in full operation for three semesters, in which time roughly 200 students have participated and produced approximately 130 instructional videos.

A subset of the best have been posted for viewing on a Cook ‘em website, hosted by the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Refinements to the comprehensive instruction manual explaining how to analyze a recipe for nutritional content and produce a quality video have been made each semester to improve students’ understanding of the desired work product, leading to steady increases in the number of videos posted on the web site.

The project has received favorable publicity via multiple outlets:

  • News from the College of Natural Sciences,
  • The Daily Texan,
  • Tweets from the Food and Housing Division at UT. 

It is being considered for listing on the MyUT web portal, and discussions are in progress with the UT Student Body President to help promote the project.

Project Overview

I have discovered many of my students are surprisingly unaware of the fundamentals of healthy eating. They lack knowledge of basic dietary needs, and what foods are required to meet those needs. Compounding the problem is the fact that many students have little or no familiarity with preparing their own food.

To help remedy this pervasive problem, my initiative focuses on engaging nutrition students in the creation of a collection of instructional videos to fill the gaps in their knowledge of the science of healthy eating. The videos will cover a range of topics:

  • food science
  • nutrient requirements
  • food safety
  • demonstrations of how to prepare fast, simple, inexpensive, and easily prepared dishes.

My vision is start a growing library of instructional materials that may be accessed by UT students. New content can be continually added, supplying both ongoing learning experiences for students creating the videos and an ever-growing variety of content, providing ongoing enrichment of this resource.

What are you passionate about?

I have always been interested in incorporating new instructional technologies to more fully engage students in the learning process:

  • incorporating multi-media elements into my lectures
  • utilizing classroom response systems
  • developing online mini-lectures with accompanying self-assessments

What is a teaching strategy that you've learned from another Fellow?

As a new Provost’s Teaching Fellow, I have been most impressed by the passion and creativity of this remarkable group of educators. Two key strategies learned are to “think outside the box” in developing methods to engage students in the learning process, and to honor students’ unique skills, talents and abilities.