Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food and Nutrition Management Ensures A Healthy Society

Think about how important nutrition is in your life. Do you ensure that you drink lots of water and eat the daily-recommended amount of vegetables and fruits? Do you watch your intake of fatty and highly caloric foods? Now, imagine the importance of those same nutritional concerns in the lives of those who stay in hospitals, seniors’ residences, nursing homes and extended care facilities. In addition, think of how important it is for industrial cafeterias, airline food services, food manufacturers and community agencies to be aware of nutritional concerns. The people who supply that advice (and much more) are professionals within Food and Nutrition Management.

Centennial College in Toronto, Ont. offers a two-year Food Service Program that teaches students all about the field of food and nutrition management. Within the undertaking, there is a balance between theory-based lectures and hands-on applications, during which students participate in on-campus food labs. It is this consideration and the subjects that are taught, which have earned the Food and Nutrition Management program accreditation from the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management (CSNM). This ensures that graduates are automatically eligible for membership in the CSNM and OSNM (Ontario Society of Nutrition Management). CSNM membership is a requirement of the Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to work in a long-term care facility and most acute care facilities.

To apply for one of the only post-secondary nutrition programs in the Greater Toronto Area, you must present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. In addition, you must have compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Math 11M or U or 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent.

Once you have been accepted you will discover a program that is career-focused. Courses offered within this food service program include: Kitchen Production, Food Properties Analysis, Perspectives of Human Aging, Health Care Menu Planning, Medical Nutrition Therapy and much more. In addition to participating in these labs and lectures, students spend seven weeks in the field on a work placement. During the placement, they are able to apply what they have learned as well as gain more knowledge by working alongside industry professionals. There are requirements for this aspect of the Food Service Program.

Upon gradation, students obtain titles such as dietary managers, nutrition technicians, food and nutrition managers, food service coordinators and quality control technicians. Despite the differences in titles, there are some duties that are common among all those with a food management diploma. For example, all employees in food and nutrition management perform in accordance with the code of ethics. Also, many create master menus, supervise the preparation of food products and special feedings, follow standardized recipes and production procedures as well as supervise food distribution and operation procedures according to standards. Lastly, all Food and Nutrition Management workers are well versed in sanitation according to established policy, procedures and regulations.

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