With an aptitude for science, a concern for people, the ability to plan and direct programs, and a strong interest in food, nutrition, and health, The University of Alabama’s food and nutrition curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in health care facilities, community health nutrition programs, food service management and business.

The College of Human Environmental Sciences offers four tailored options for students who choose the food and nutrition major: nutrition sciences concentration, individualized supervised practice pathway, didactic program in dietetics only and a coordinated program in dietetics.

We had the opportunity to collaborate with senior Mary Caton Davidson who is currently pursuing the major with a concentration in Nutrition Sciences to create a recipe for the season that focuses on foods that are not only delicious but have a high nutritional value as well.

Originally from Madison, Alabama, Davidson represents the distinguished young women graduating from The University of Alabama. Her passion for health reaches far beyond her own relationship to food and to the ways it directly impacts community. As a part of the Honors College STEM Path to the MBA program, Davidson is on track to obtain her MBA after graduating with her Bachelor of Science with plans to attend dental school.

Backed by education in biochemistry, human anatomy and physiology, psychology, medical nutrition therapy and many more related courses, this recipe serves as a practical application of the valuable information Davidson has learned throughout the course of the nutrition sciences program.


(University of Alabama/Contributed)

Mary Caton’s Seasonal Soul Food Recipe

When I think of soul food, this recipe is one of the first ones to come to mind. It is always great around the holidays and jam-packed with nutrients!

The recipe is stuffed acorn squash with sausage. First, you will need three acorn squashes and one pound of Italian sausage. This can be chicken or turkey sausage for a lean protein option, and you can use the sweet or spicy versions of this sausage depending on your family’s preference. Next, you will need 1/2 apple for a hint of sweetness and a few mushrooms to add the savory flavor.

To enhance that flavor, you will need to add 1/2 onion, two minced cloves of garlic and two teaspoons of sage and thyme. Lastly, you will add a teaspoon of nutmeg, allspice, and of course 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for a delicious finish.

  1. First you will bake your squash. In order to do so, you will cut the squash in half and scoop out all of the seeds. Once this is done, oil the squash and place on a baking sheet in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees or until tender. When they are done, set them aside.
  1. Next you must prepare the filling by browning the sausage in a large skillet. Add in the vegetables, apples, salt and spices. Cook until the meat is done.
  1. Once the squash is cooled, scoop out the majority of the filling, leaving a one-fourth inch wall surrounding it. Add the scooped-out squash to the filling mixture with the meat and stir together.
  1. Place all the filling inside of the squash halves and sprinkle Parmesan on top. Place the squash back in the oven at 400 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.

This dish is paired great with a side of vegetables or a salad. In just one serving of this meal, you get 26 grams of protein and only 420 calories!

This is a great nutritious soul food meal to prepare for your family during the holidays.