Staying healthy on a budget is easier said than done.
On February 25, students attended Cooking on a Budget, an event hosted by Sodexo, Emerson’s food service provider, which taught tips and tricks for making better food choices. The event, held in the Charles Beard Room, was co-hosted by Money Matters, Emerson’s financial education program.
Sodexo chef Timothy Conklin taught students healthy cooking and food budgeting basics at the Charles Beard Room on February 25. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)
Chef Timothy Conklin, an executive chef at Sodexo, led the hour-long session with a PowerPoint presentation and a live cooking demonstration of a simple healthy recipe for chicken pot pie.
“We wanted to do an exercise with students to have cooking on a budget since budgets are extremely important,” Conklin said. “It’s a scary thing to leave college and [think] ‘What do you do? How do you manage your money?’”
Conklin oversees nine colleges in the Boston area with Sodexo. He presented the students with 10 tips for grocery shopping, a sample pantry list of food that should be stocked in a student’s pantry, and an app for Stop & Shop supermarket that could help manage a student’s grocery budget.
One of the most important skills Conklin stressed to students is to shop seasonally.
“It’s fresher. It supports the local farms in the area and the economy,” said Conklin. “By shopping locally, you will get more for your money in the long run. It’s healthier and there’s no carbon footprint.”
Sodexo chef Timothy Conklin (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)
When trying to remain on a budget, Conklin warns to stay away from impulse buys at the supermarket.
“If you don’t stick to your list or don’t go with a list in mind, you will go on this free-for-all and buy so much and not buy what you want or need. You’ll end up probably with 60 percent of what you didn’t want and only 40 percent of what you did want.”
Janissa Delzo ’16 said that, as someone who lives on campus, she found Conklin’s advice beneficial as she prepares to live off campus in the future.
“Next year I plan to cook a lot more,” Delzo said, “and I thought the tips they gave were really useful and were things that I could see myself doing, in that they weren’t too hard.”
Kellie Fuller and Robyn Shahid-Bellot, associate directors at the Student Services Center, with Tim Conklin, Sodexo executive chef. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)
Delzo, who is majoring in Journalism with a minor in Health Communication, attended the event to learn how to be more health conscious.
“That’s what drew me to this event. I’m really interested in health and ways to stay healthy,” she said. “My favorite part was seeing how easy it was to make a meal and then being able to try it. It was delicious and healthy, too. I definitely think I’ll use these tips in the future.”
Conklin also shared suggestions on daily meal preparation for a typical college student.
“Pack some fresh snacks, fresh fruits, fresh veggies,” he said. “Always eat breakfast. It gives you that energy for the whole day, so it’s really important to try to eat breakfast, whether it be in the dining hall, whether it be at home, whether it be a protein bar or power bar—something that gives you energy for the day. If you eat throughout the day, it keeps you focused, especially in a college world.”
Students left the event with stomachs full of chicken pot pie as well as a new appreciation for healthy eating.
With the aroma of chicken pot pie still wafting in the air, Conklin left the students with one last thought: “Don’t be intimidated by fresh food.”