Living off Ramen noodles, frozen pizza and fast food? This is the reality for a great deal of college students, and at Salisbury University, the Student Wellness program worked to combat these unhealthy habits with a "Healthy Eating on a Budget" cooking class.
Many college students will tell you that college is like a precursor to adult life. College requires students to have independence and more responsibilities than in high school, but most of the time, parents are still only a call away.
Even still, once students graduate college, they make the full transition to adult life relatively soon after, making college an important time to learn skills for living independently.
Recognizing the need for the learning of adult skills, Jenna Haines, the graduate assistant for Campus Planning and Student Wellness, had the idea to organize an "Adulting 101" series. The series gives SU students the opportunity to attend various sessions that teach different skills and provide information on topics that are relevant to living independently.
“We did a car maintenance [session] which was how to change a tire, how to start a car, how to change your oil, just general car safety and maintenance," Haines said. "Next month, we have one about health insurance … and then we are also doing one in May about how to socialize after college.”
The "Healthy Eating on a Budget" session aimed to help students learn how to cook healthy and easily with affordable recipes. The cooking session was led by the campus dietitian, Terry Passano, along with two of her interns.
“I wanted them to learn that cooking vegetables is not a big deal [and] that you can do it just using a recipe as like a guideline … it’s very flexible," Passano said. "I also wanted them to learn a couple simple cooking techniques.”
Students who attended the event were taught to make three different recipes, including chicken tikka masala with a dipping sauce — a sheet pan meal that consisted of carrots, potatoes, chicken and a detox salad that was filled with a variety of vegetables.
Passano emphasized that they wanted the chosen recipe to be diverse in its flavors, to show students that cooking healthy can still be full of flavor.
“I think it is really important to expand the palate, so that’s what I was really trying to do with [the] detox salad," Passano said. "I was surprised when I first made it myself, and it’s got all of those sulfur, kind of bitter-tasting, really nutritious veggies in it, but it winds of tasting kind of sweet just with a little bit of maple syrup.”
Because of the unique recipes Passano chose, her goal was accomplished in teaching students new recipes that had not been seen before.
SU freshman Ben Decker attended the event and was pleased with the recipe of choice.
“I learned how to make a really easy chicken tikka masala, which was pretty good, as well as a detox salad," Decker said. "It was some stuff I hadn’t seen before, [only] doing basic cooking beforehand, so this was nice.”
Many of the students who attended the event were pleasantly surprised about how easy, healthy and delicious the recipes were.
SU freshman Hallie Hyers was specifically impressed by the time constraints.
“I was surprised by how easy and quick they were, a lot of them only took 30 minutes, which was really nice, and good for students that they can be fast and still really healthy,” Hyers said.
The "Healthy Eating on a Budget" session taught students the important skill of how to cook both affordably and nutritiously.
See https://www.salisbury.edu/administration/student-affairs/center-for-student-involvement-and-leadership/student-wellness-program/index.aspx for more information, tips and news on events held by SU's Student Wellness Center.
By LAURA AMRHEIN
Featured photos: Laura Amrhein images.