Nutrition Educator & Chef Offers Fresh Ideas


One of the nice things about having new people on staff is the creative ideas they bring to our efforts to encourage people to eat healthy. Although nutrition related information doesn’t vary all that much—what’s good for you is good for you—fresh twists on preparing seasonal produce are worth their weight in rutabaga.

We recently spoke to Adriana Sierra who started volunteering at Second Harvest when her daughter, Angelica, had an internship here. She works part time here now and also maintains a business as a personal chef focused on clients with restricted diets or health concerns.

Adriana leads a class for parents at Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville

Adriana explains that she gets people to expand the variety of foods they eat by having them try recipes from different cultures that share a common ingredient with their own. “For example, cumin is a popular seasoning in both Latin and Middle Eastern cuisines. I use that familiar flavor to get people to try different preparations.”

Looking over the produce

“I’m always looking for new ideas and recipes,” Adriana says. “Whenever I travel, I take a cooking class.”

You have to be inventive when your job involves coming into the food bank in the morning, seeing what kind of produce is going to be distributed through our agencies, and figuring out a recipe that’s quick and easy to prepare (that can be presented on-site that same day under a variety of conditions!). Our Nutrition Programs group does that every week.

“I tell people to try a new vegetable every week. Buy a small amount and look for a recipe on the Internet.”

Check out some of the healthy and delicious recipes our Nutrition Educators have been cooking up lately.

Find out more about our Passion For Produce program.

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