“Wow, is it a type of diet? Isn’t it a type of salt?” That was my thought when people asked me about a Kosher diet. Born and raised in Vietnam, the only times I heard about Kosher was the salt brand used in cooking. After I came to the US, I learned more about this term and the diet associated with it. And I learned even more about it when tasked with creating a Kosher diet handout during the clinical rotation of my dietetic internship at Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC).
During the 10-week clinical rotation, I was assigned to design an educational handout about a topic that I am interested in. The handout was given to the food services and kitchen team during the monthly meeting to educate the staff so that they can better serve the patients.
At the beginning of the project, I started researching about the Kosher diet and its restrictions. Kosher is a term used to describe food that strictly follows Jewish dietary laws. These rules are also known as Kashrut. Kosher foods fall into three basic categories: meat, dairy, and “parve.” Kosher meat includes animals that have split hooves and chew partially digested food from their stomach such as goats, cows, or sheep. Certain parts of the animal including fat, blood, and nerves are not kosher. All dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese must come from kosher certified animals. The parve group includes vegetables, fish, fruits, packaged foods, and eggs. In the kosher diet, there are many laws that fall below each category of food. I asked the dietetic manager how kosher food is served at the hospital. She explained that the dish is sealed and only opened by the patient or by someone at their request.
Although the dietitian provided a lot of information to me about the kosher diet, I only included the key information on the handout. The goal when creating educational handouts is to be detailed yet brief to hold the reader’s interest. I used Canva, a website, to design the handout. The first page of the handout shows key information about the diet and its rules. The second page has multiple choice questions that ask how to serve the food and what are the restrictions. This helps to enhance the readers’ knowledge and retention of the information.
Image credit: by Amino Science
Educational handouts like this are important resources in food service operations. Dietitians and food service workers must consider and understand various cultures in hospitals and long-term care facilities when serving a variety of customers. This minimizes miscommunication, decreases health risks, and improves customer satisfaction.
After completing this assignment, I felt more confident talking about a kosher diet. If someone approached me and asked about Kosher, I could easily explain it and provide examples of allowed foods in this diet as well as some of the rules.
In this experience, I not only learned about a special diet, but I also learned new technology skills to create effective nutrition education handouts. I know I will use this skill set a lot when I become a registered dietitian. Creating concise, reliable, and evidence-based nutrition education materials engages your target audience and reinforces the behavior changes they need to make which can result in positive health outcomes.