Editor’s note: this was written for class credit for MC200 in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
College students typically live on a budget and often times, eating healthy can be pricey. With the popularity of sites like Pinterest, which is often used for recipe sharing and the public’s obsession with being healthy and fit, college students are definitely taking a more hands on approach to stay healthy these days.
According to an article by the editors of health.com published by ABC News on Sept. 7, 2013, apples, cauliflower, pumpkins, squash, pears and sweet potatoes are all fall “superfoods.”
“’Superfoods’ is just a fancy word that helps create appeal for fruits and vegetables,” Molly Brunton, senior in nutrition, said.
Apples are full of antioxidants and there are four grams of fiber in each serving. Pears are a good source of vitamin C and copper. Squash offers omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A. Pumpkins are another great source of fiber and are full of potassium. Sweet potatoes offer a substantial amount of vitamin A, iron and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Brunton said she is amazed by the way the media is glorifying foods that have been eaten for hundreds of years.
“People have to be convinced to eat fruits and vegetables,” Brunton said. “They have been eating crap for so long, they have forgotten the importance of eating healthy.”
Brunton said it is important to eat many fruits and vegetables every day. Though some produce is labeled as “superfood,” that does not mean that other fruits and vegetables are not just as beneficial to the human body.
“I like to look at each meal time as an opportunity to gain the necessary nutrients my body needs to survive,” Brunton said.
Katie Slavin, senior in athletic training, said she shares a similar belief to Brunton when it comes to eating nutritious meals.
“I like to be healthy,” Slavin said. “I want to have a long life without having to worry about getting crazy diseases.”
Slavin recently made a “potato bake” casserole dish, similar to scalloped potatoes but with a veggie twist, with her roommates. The potato bake had squash, potatoes, zucchini, cheese and garlic. During the colder months, Slavin said she enjoys making soups with pumpkins, squash and chickpeas.
Even though eating healthy can be expensive, college students should be more willing to spend extra money in the produce aisle. Slavin said money or a budget is not a factor for her when grocery shopping for healthy produce.
“I don’t budget myself on food, even though I probably should,” Slavin said. “Healthy food is expensive, but I get what I need to be healthy. I only have one body, so I am willing to spend more to keep myself healthy.”
During the fall, apples, pears, pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes are in season. A great place to purchase fresh, local produce is the Eastside Market located at 219 E. Poyntz Ave.
Eastside Market employees Andrew Conell, a K-State alum from winter 2012, and Megan McHaney, sophomore in geography, both said they love eating the store’s produce.
“If you eat the right foods, you are going to feel overall better,” Conell said.
McHaney said she eats a lot of fruits and vegetables, and enjoys making cauliflower mash in the fall. The dish is similar to mashed potatoes but instead of potatoes, she uses cauliflower.
“I eat a sweet potato every night,” McHaney said. “I bake it like a normal baked potato then add toppings like turkey bacon bits, onions and mushrooms.”
Even though it can be expensive, it is important to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. It is easy to try a new recipe or add some vegetables to an old favorite recipe. The next time you are grocery shopping, consider trying something new in the produce aisle. Chances are, you won’t regret it.