Students discover healthy cooking

Kevin Hendricks

As students settle into the fall semester, many will make their way towards The WELL in order to take advantage of numerous health and fitness themed classes and activities that are offered.

Of the many activities that students get to choose from, one very popular activity takes place in The Cove in the form of cooking demonstrations.

Beginning several years back, the staff in the student health and counseling services began to offer classes geared towards helping students make healthier choices in the kitchen and lead healthier lifestyles.

Jennifer Campbell, the lead dietician in the student health and counseling division, believes the classes serve as great resources for students as they are introduced to healthier food alternatives and preparation practices.

“I think our purpose is to get students familiar with different techniques [and] giving them quick recipes and ideas that they can fit into their busy lifestyles,” Campbell said.

There are several cooking demonstrations that take place throughout the month of September with a different theme or focus at each session.

For Campbell, cost and simplicity are key as she is vastly aware of how fleeting both time and finances can be for students.

“We try to gear it towards college students, so we try to keep the budget in mind and time in mind,” Campbell said.

The time and budget friendly approach towards cooking seem to be a hit with students as the allotted 15 seats for the demonstrations tend to quickly fill up.

For 22-year-old nutrition major Brandon Venerable, who works as a supervisor over the cooking demonstrations, the sessions serve as a tremendous aid by teaching students just how important diet is to their overall health.

“Nutrition is centered around a lot of touchy subjects,” Venerable said. “[Diet] plays a key factor, whether it’s stress, focus [or] sleep.”

While students may come to the cooking demonstrations for the sole purpose of learning about healthier meal options, students are also taught other skills.

During the sessions, students are taught such things as proper sanitation practices when preparing food or are given tips about where to shop for food in order to make their dollar stretch.

The sessions are also student-led which Venerable believes has a positive impact as students who attend may be better able to relate to the content. 

“It’s kind of nice to have college students speaking to college students,” Venerable said.

While the cooking demonstrations help many students in their quest towards a healthier lifestyle, Campbell is understanding about the difficulties many face in achieving that goal. Campbell acknowledges that factors such as finances, time, and skill set can present certain hurdles.

However, despite said difficulties, it would appear that Sac State students have really taken strides to make healthier choices as Reva Wittenberg, the associate director of campus wellness, states in a recent statistic from the American College Health Association that shows 7.9 percent of students surveyed at Sac State reported meeting the daily recommended fruit and vegetable intake.

For Wittenberg, the percentage is a positive indicator that shows students are taking a more proactive role in maintaining their health and makes her excited for the future.

“I’m just looking forward to getting as many students out [here] as we possibly can. I think everything we can do to help with overall health is really important,” Wittenberg said.

Venerable’s sentiments echo those of Wittenberg’s as he emphasised that the cooking the demonstrations as well as the other activities offered at The WELL are for the students, all they have to do is be open to the possibilities.

“Our services are free and the more students we reach, the more services we have. We’re for the students,” Venerable said.