Adult education students along with parents of Early Head Start and Head Start students in West Feliciana Parish, as well as staff at the Family Service Center for Continuing Education in St. Francisville, have been participating in a series of nutrition classes conducted by LSU Agricultural Center Area Nutrition Agent Layne Langley.

In March, Langley delivered the “Vary Your Protein Food Choices” program that had participants learning about animal and plant proteins as well as foods rich in protein that help build muscle, Langley said.

“They learned about what counts as a single serving of protein and the number of servings needed each day to maintain a healthy diet,” Langley said.

In a section of the class — Go Lean with Protein — Langley explained which lean cuts of meat and poultry to select, as well as healthy ways to prepare protein foods.

“Because beans and peas are a rich source of protein, I encouraged them to add more to their diet,” Langley said. “We even learned how to make chickpea dip.”

In April, the group learned how to stretch their money in the Food Dollar Management program and about the three main steps in saving money: plan before you shop, buy food items at the best prices, and prepare meals and snacks that stretch your dollar.

“They learned about expiration dates, ‘best by’ dates and ‘use by’ dates,” Langley said. “I also shared techniques on comparing nutrition labels as well as cost-saving tips to use while shopping and they practiced unit pricing.”

The group sampled name brand vs. store brand foods such as fruit cocktail, granola bars, peanut butter, tomato juice and yogurt to see if they could taste the differences and learned the prices of each.

“Many were surprised at how good the store brand tasted,” Langley said.

For information on nutrition programs conducted by LSU AgCenter, call Langley at (225) 635-3614 or email lalangley@agcenter.lsu.edu.