Health & Spirit

Future doctors and nurses learning to treat patients with food

Allie Shah, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Health & Fitness

For their final assignment, the students formed teams and received case studies of fictitious patients struggling with different ailments. Each team needed to make a main dish and a side dish designed to help their patient.

They moved through the kitchen with swagger, but that wasn't always the case.

"Before this course, I wouldn't say I was much of a cook at all," said McKenna Campbell-Potter, 23, a medical student. "I am becoming more confident."

Her patient was "Maria," a woman struggling with her weight. Maria worries about heart disease and has tried several diets in the past without success.

Campbell-Potter and her teammates surfed the internet for dishes from the Mediterranean diet. They settled on making pan-seared salmon with tzatziki sauce and mashed cauliflower with garlic and herbs.

The salmon, high in Omega-3 fatty acids, uses healthy fats to add flavor and make the patient feel full, she explained. And the mashed cauliflower is a healthful alternative to mashed potatoes.


Campbell-Potter said she took the class after hearing rave reviews from previous students. She also hoped it would fill a void.

"Our medical education really lacks nutrition education," she said. "We don't learn what a patient should eat. This class helps to set the framework for that."

At a nearby station in the kitchen, Wang was busy slicing carrots into matchsticks.


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