Eating healthy without breaking the bank

Sarah McMillan 

smcmilla@uccs.edu 

10 September 2019

     As college students, we all know the struggle of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Between classes, assignments, social lives and other commitments, eating healthy can quickly fall into becoming a lower priority than it actually is. Fortunately, there are many strategies and resources available to prioritize eating healthy and being more considerate as to what goes into our bodies. 

     While it is easy to try to justify why you may not have the time to cook, there are many inexpensive and simple strategies that can guarantee healthy meal options without breaking the bank.  

     According to Hilary Kave, a Sports Nutrition Graduate student and Registered Dietitian at the Wellness Center, the key is in meal preparation. In an interview last week, Kave explained that “meal Prepping saves so much time and money. A little goes a long way.” Kave added that meal prep leads to stronger dietary habits, regulated portion control and metabolism, as well as can easily work within a tight budget. 

     To begin with, there is no such thing as a universal diet. Each individual has different needs regarding nutrients and different foods provide different benefits for each person. Although a “perfect” diet does not exist, a healthy plate consists of 50 percent fruits and vegetables, 25 percent protein and 25 percent grains or starchy vegetables. As well as these elements, it’s important to aim for three servings of dairy per day.  

     The first critical key for eating on a budget is writing a plan for the meals and snacks that you will be eating throughout the week.  Planning before making a trip to the grocery store will keep you on track for what items you are specifically there for and will help you buy only what you need. While searching for recipes, include meals that can stretch the more expensive food items such as meat. The same type of protein can be used in a variety of recipes such as casseroles, soups and stews. Frozen fruits and vegetables are also a great option for filling your freezer because they will help meet your daily nutrition needs but never go bad.  

     The UCCS community has multiple opportunities through the Wellness Center to learn about healthy eating and what specific diet works best for them as an individual. Each month, the center hosts two cooking classes which focus on food safety, nutrition, and of course how to cook easy yet scrumptious meals. As well as the monthly cooking classes, the first three appointments with the dietitian are free. Not only do visits with a dietitian assist students in general nutrition and wellness, but they also aid students in learning about their specified needs. 

     The Wellness Center dietitians provide students with a variety of handouts including recipes for building three different meals from less than 15 ingredients. Tacos, fried rice, soups and salads can all contain the same protein, vegetables, cheese, beans and grains of your choice. Salsa, eggs, tortilla, and sauces such as tomato and soy sauce also make up this simple grocery list. 

     The UCCS Recreation and Wellness Center also offers weekly cooking classes in its full-service kitchen. Classes vary in time and day, with the next course taking place on Sept. 24, from 5:00-7:30 p.pm. This course will focus on healthy vegan dining. Future courses include one on stress-free cooking, pumpkin recipes, and easy homemade pizzas. 

     According to the Recreation and Wellness Center, these classes involve hands-on interaction where students actively create and enjoy their own meal in a fully equipped kitchen. 

     Registration is limited to nine students per course, so students are encouraged to sign up early. Students can register at www.uccs.edu/cookclass

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