When busy schedules and tight budgets come first on priority lists, a college student’s diet may end up at the bottom.
Dr. Amy Jo Riggs, professor of nutrition and food science, has dedicated much of her time to helping Georgia Southern University students learn how to eat well on a college budget.
“There are a lot of complications with this population because they can be a little bit more limited when it comes to finances and time,” Riggs said.
College students also run into issues with portion control and overconsumption of empty calories, Riggs said. This can lead to a malnourished diet that lacks important minerals and vitamins.
“I recommend the Farmer’s Market to my students all the time,” Riggs said. “Any time we can support local grown produce from our local famers, not only are they going to be more nutritious they are going to be more affordable.”
“You can pay the organic farmer today or pay the doctor tomorrow,” Kathy Smith, an employee at Walker Farms in Newington, Ga., said. “If you can’t read the words on the label don’t buy it.”
Walker Farms is one of the many local farms that participate at the Statesboro Farmer’s Market. They provide organic vegetables that have no genetic modification or chemicals in them.
Local farms are able to provide produce at lower prices than large chains because they do not have to pay for shipping and packaging, Riggs said.
“Local is more honest,” Brooks Turner, owner of Sugar Magnolia Bakery, said.
Sugar Magnolia aims to be the healthiest bakery in town, using as many local or organic ingredients as possible.
Sugar Magnolia makes all of their products in house, which is something you won’t usually find in chains, Turner said.
Choosing local restaurants cuts down the risk of eating processed food full of unhealthy chemicals, Tuner said.
Local, fresh and handmade are the best ways to make great food. All the ingredients used to make food at South & Vine Public House restaurant are locally grown, and all dishes are made in house from pastas to bake goods and sauces, Seni Alabi-Isama, owner of the downtown Statesboro restaurant, said.
Having a few staple items in your kitchen that aren’t very costly, such as dried beans and canned tomatoes, and pairing them with fresh vegetables that are in season can help build healthy and affordable meals, Alabi-Isama said.
Looking for sales and making a grocery list prior to shopping can help college students manage their shopping budget better. When buying local produce is not an option, low sodium can goods and frozen vegetables are a good alternative, Riggs said.
Alabi-Isama said, “For people who are really interested in eating better it just takes a little time and fore thought.”