Fresh U

Two UCF students learn how to make hard boiled eggs at a cooking class hosted by Fresh U, an organization within the nutrition committee of the Healthy Knights 2020 initiative, on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Students don't necessarily need a kitchen to cook healthy meals.

Employees from Wellness and Health Promotion Services taught 12 UCF students how to make three breakfast dishes at Fresh U’s cooking class on Tuesday.

Fresh U works within the nutrition committee of the Healthy Knights 2020 initiative, which aims to create a healthier and safer campus.

The organization has eight committee groups, which are nutrition and physical activity, tobacco use, sleep, substance use, social determinants of health and health disparities among sub-populations of students, sexual health, injury and violence prevention and mental health and mental disorders.

Andres Ayesta, a dietician for Wellness and Health Promotion Services, talked about the various clean eating diets that have popped up across the globe.

“I think that when it comes down to fad diets, and I tell people, if you want to follow a diet, make sure it’s a long term diet, like for the rest of your life,” Ayesta said.

According to the 2015 statistics from the American College Health Association and National College Health Assessment, 76.5 percent of college students have zero to two servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

“The goal of Fresh U is to get students to eat more fruits and vegetables and to live a healthier lifestyle," said Stephanie Spies, the assistant director of Wellness and Health Promotion Services.

Spies said she tries to show students that eating healthy can be easy and inexpensive.

“We were like, how can we help our students eat healthier,” Spies said. “Anytime you do something, say something and practice it, you’re going to retain it better.”

After analyzing data from ACHA-NCHA in 2013, Fresh U was created. 

“We feel that the cooking classes really give extra hands on experience,” Spies said.

Fresh U helps students learn more about cooking meals for themselves. Spies said that Fresh U began hosting the cooking demos when they realized that the students not only needed instruction on how to eat well, but hands-on experience as well. They began hosting the classes last Spring semester.

“Students want convenience, they want something quick,” Ayesta said.

She said that the lack of nutrition is because students lack the education in what they should actually be eating.

UCF graduate student Kyle Wilson said that he cooks in his apartment and doesn’t always cook healthy foods.

“Sometimes a frozen pizza is a lot easier than, you know, making something in the 30 minutes that we have,” Wilson said.

Wilson is actually at risk for high blood pressure. He aims to eat less salt and said that the Fresh U recipes are helpful.

After cooking the three recipes, students were taught that the last step to cooking is cleaning up.

Fresh U hosts one cooking demo and one cooking class each month. Students are able to sign up on the Wellness and Health Promotion Services website. 

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