By Elena Gustavson
Two weeks ago, we posted part one of a two part article on ways that new graduates can continue to eat healthy and eat local away from home. We discussed using a knife properly (see Jamie Oliver’s Dream School on YouTube for an excellent tutorial), taking time to read and use recipes (yes, you really ought to read it all the way through before you start cooking!) and utilizing the value of local CSAs and Farmers’ Markets for fresh vegetables and fruits. This week, we are going to touch on a few more ideas to get your new graduate or soon-to- be first time renter ready to eat healthy and local, no matter where they are.
And if you missed the part one of our series, you can find it on our website at www.rutlandfarmandfood.org
Microwaves and slow cookers really are your friends. With limited access to kitchens, it isn’t hard to understand why so many college-aged students turn to convenience foods when at best they have a mini-fridge and a microwave. I taught a workshop on healthy microwave cooking and as one student put it so succinctly after we made yummy macaroni and cheese in a mug with whole grain pasta and cheddar cheese, “Mind. Blown.” Small slow cookers are also a fabulous and low cost way to cook nutritious and comforting meals, especially after a long day of studying and working. There are some fantastic blogs and websites that have tasty, inexpensive and healthy recipes for using your microwave and slow cooker. (See Resources below)
Learn to read a nutrition label. Nutrition labels, (you know, the ubiquitous label of calorie and nutrient factson packaged food and other foods?) is something your young person may or may not know how to read. And if we are going to be honest, a whole lot of us don’t know how to read them. That said, they truly are helpful for understanding how nutritious food, sodium intake, sugars and calories which is a great tool for taking control of our what we put into our bodies.
For that matter, we should learn the difference between serving sizes and portion sizes. A “serving” is a measured amount of food or drink and is used in nutrition fact labels to numerate the amount of nutrition and calories. A serving may or may not be an appropriate or desired “portion”, which is what you choose to eat (and can contain multiple servings). Do you see where this is going? Understanding the difference between serving sizes on a nutrition fact label versus what you actually choose to eat, is important to understanding how nutritious the food is, that you are eating.
Eat seasonally in the place you live. It is cheaper, the food is fresher and it gives you opportunity to support your local farmer no matter where you live.
So, go forth. Enjoy life. Eat good food.