Barriers to Nutrition
In college, many barriers can cause university students to eat unhealthily. It could be due to a lack of income or lack of knowledge (Dyck et al., 2016). The best way to keep food costs from sending you deeper into debt is to prepare your meals as often as possible (Fay, 2018). People who know how to cook are more likely to have healthier eating habits. University students who food prep are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables. In reality college students are spending more than $11 billion a year on snacks and beverages, according to StateUniversity.com (Fay, 2018). About 75 percent of college students use credit cards that could put them in debt. In the Bay Area, specifically, it can difficult because of the rising cost of rent to affordable healthy options when it comes to food.
In college, students that are first years living in the dorms, just having the basics like milk, cereal, bread, fruit, soup, and peanut butter and jelly, will take care of most meals (Fay,2018).
Shopping and Meal Planning
Fruits and vegetables can be purchased fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, and packages can still have similar nutritional value. Aim for low-sodium versions of canned foods. Shop for sale items at grocery stores and purchase in-season fruits and vegetables for better deals (“Wellness & Health Promotion”***). A great source for students to use is the USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov website *** that can help with meal planning. Students can use meal planning and include grocery shopping strategies that would lower the cost while making nutritious recipes with included cooking instructions (Haven et al., 2014). Students can benefit from this information if they do not know how to cook for themselves.
The first part of the USDA healthy eating on a budget plan states to make a plan of action before going to the grocery store (Haven et al.,2014). Creating a list of items you already have and things that you need to make the meals for the week can be very helpful. Many students are busy studying and may say they do not have enough time to make a grocery list. However, it only takes about 15-20 minutes each week to plan a meal or make a grocery list. It is essential to include a wide variety of meal options such as, soup, salad, stew, or stir-fry to stretch expensive items or prepare large batches to make food last the week (Post, 2013). The grocery planning section also includes how to save more money at the store and contains tips for buying at stores that have coupons and buying more foods that are on sale or in season to reduce spending. It is also essential to be aware of unit prices listed on items to make sure you are getting the best price for the money you are spending. It is important not to do grocery shopping when you are in a rush or hungry. The amount you spend on food increases because you are mostly shopping for convenience. It is also essential to prepare for the week by cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks. It is critical to remember three Plan, Compare, and Prepare tips if you want to stay within the budget.
Cooking On Campus
The wellness.sfsu.edu/nutriton has great resources links to the on SF State's Campus Cooking Classes that are budget friendly ingredients.
The link to CalFresh Help clinic that is located at the Health Promotion & Wellness Center. This provide free money for groceries every month if you qualify.
Dyck, A., Tsiji, N., Mauldin, K., Barmore, C., & Pignotti, G. (2016). The Effects of Budget-Friendly Cooking Classes on Students’ Beliefs, Attitudes, Self-Efficacy, and Behavior Regarding Healthy Eating, JournaloftheAcademyofNutritionDietetics,116,A59.https://doiorg.jpllnet.sfsu.edu/10.1016/j.jand.2016.06.206
Fay,B.(2018).Dinning Costs Eating up College Students' Budget. Retrieved from https://www.debt.org/blog/dining-costs-eating-uo-college-students-budget/.
Haven, J., Rihane, C., Britten, P., Johnson-Bailey, D., Lino, M., Rahavi, E., & Ciampo, M. (2014). Healthy
Eating on a Budget at ChooseMyPlate.gov. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(6), 834-837
Post, R. (2017). Healthy Eating on a Budget. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2013/03/28/healthy-eating-budget.
Wellness and Health Promotion (n.d). Retrieved from http://www/sjsu.edu/wellness/foodresources/eatingwell/.
The Digestible; a site for easy to understand food, nutrition, health, and energy balance information.