GARLAND – With plates in her hands, Lethia Robinson Lee was happy to serve lasagna to employees at the Brooks Brothers Garland Shirt Factory Wednesday.
The meal which contained diced tomatoes, greaseless hamburger meat, low-fat cheese and whole wheat noodles was tasty despite its lack of salt. It’s one of the lessons she taught during a program titled “Lunch and Learn.”
Lee, a program assistant for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, has taught employees about nutrition for more than three weeks now, helping them to realign their nutritional habits.
“We talked about not eating mostly sugar and salt because those are the two main ingredients that effect our body and make us unhealthy,” Lee said. “If we eat a whole lot of sugar, we’re going to get diabetes, and if we eat a whole of salt, we’re going to have high blood pressure.”
Lee said a lot of the recipes shared already had sodium, so more salt is not required. The same lessons applied to sugar and sweets.
Wednesday was the last day of a four-week program. Employees received certificates for their participation in the program which included education on food safety, preparation, storage and handling. Lee said they’ll be able to use those certificates for future job opportunities.
“They did a great job,” Lee said about the workers who received more than 16 hours of course work. “They were so enthused and appreciative of all the information they were taught.”
The free program at the factory was managed through the Extension’s Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program. Its purpose is to help participants learn skills and strategies to feed their family a nutritious meal on a limited budget and to improve their health.
Vickie Reihl, Human Resource manager for BB-Garland Shirt Factory, said it was a great program with a variety of topics for participants. At the beginning stage, more than 60 people signed up for it.
“I would like everyone in the entire plant to be able to take it,” Reihl said. “You can never learn too much about nutrition, exercising and how to eat healthy.”
Lee said the program is open to organizations and businesses such as the BB-Garland Shirt Factory.
“If their health is good they’re going to come to work,” Lee said. “If they’re sick with high blood pressure or diabetes, they can’t come to work. They’re more productive if they’re healthy.”