Students get the low down on cheap, healthy eating

Amy MacKenzie – The Aquinian
)Courtesy WikiCommons)

Students tired of eating Raman noodles and Kraft Dinner as a way to save money filed into Ellen MacIntosh’s seminar about eating healthy on a budget last week.

“In my position at the Student Health Centre, I see hundreds of students every year. Virtually all of them are dealing with trying to eat healthy on a limited budget,” said MacIntosh, a registered dietician at the Student Health Centre. “We spend thousands and thousands of dollars every year on food and I think everyone can benefit from eating a little better on a little less money.”

MacIntosh said that even small changes in decision making when it comes to food can help save money.

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“We make hundreds of decisions every time we go into the grocery store. A few good decisions will make a big impact at the end of the month. It may be $50, $100, or even more,” she said.

While MacIntosh admits that it is expensive to eat healthy, she said not eating healthy can be even more costly.

“A lot of students get in the trap of not eating at home so they end up eating out or grabbing something on the go which you can end up paying twice as much for,” she said. “Part of budgeting is planning ahead to avoid these situations.”

MacIntosh feels that students should think of food as part of an investment in their schooling.

“In the long run, students are investing thousands of dollars in their education every year,” she said. “To make sure that you’re well nourished is a good place to spend money. It keeps your energy stores up so you can focus and concentrate better on your schooling.”

MacIntosh offered 10 tips for eating healthy on a budget. UNB grad student Beverley Elliott feels she can benefit from the tips given at the seminar.

“It was really great. I got a lot of good information on nutrition and budgeting,” she said. “As a student, I always end up buying cheap, unhealthy junk foods, so this really helped a lot.”

Elliott said that she is going to implement some of MacIntosh’s tips into her daily routine.

“I’m definitely going to visit the websites that she recommended and buy a slow cooker now,” she said. “I think it will be a good way to save money and it’s also pretty convenient.”

MacIntosh hopes that students who came to the seminar will benefit by making smarter choices.

“I hope that people will go into the grocery store with a perspective of looking at foods in terms of the four food groups. The four food groups represent major sources of nutrients and if even one group is really low, then it harms our bodies.”

UNB Wellness is also offering free fitness classes, stress management seminars, a wellness fair and other activities as part of the school’s Wellness Month.

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