Mac and cheese, pizzas, burgers, fudge and cookies. Believe it or not, these foods are being featured in a local dietician’s new cookbook.
Krista McLellan lives in Halifax and created a cookbook specifically for students. World food for student cooks features healthy, cheap, easy and quick recipes from around the world.
“Although it is pretty healthy,” says McLellan, “I didn’t want to bog students down with a lot of health information. I just wanted them to have a wholesome holistic approach to eating well, so just eating real food.”
Eating well is beneficial to your education and your life, but as a former student McLellan has felt the pain of trying to make healthy meals in university.
“It can be really stressful,” says McLellan, “when you’re trying to study and balance that with athletics and sometimes a job and volunteering and having a life. It was something that I thought I might be able to help with.”
McLellan believes the two biggest barriers for students eating well are lack of time and money. Luckily, she has some advice.
For the busy student, she recommends putting a few hours aside every week to cook large quantities of food that freeze well.
“When it is crunch time, like during exams, you have something nutritious and filling that makes you feel good and that you can pull out of the freezer and pop in the oven.”
On a tight budget?
Students trying to save money would do better to buy items that are local and in season because they’re usually cheaper.
McLellan also recommends students “get really comfortable using pulses.”
Pulses is a term for foods in the legume family, like beans and lentils.
“They’re extremely nutritious,” she says, “high in fibre, high in protein and they are dirt cheap.”
McLellan also wants to increase students’ cooking confidence. She’s hoping that her cookbook helps students feel more comfortable in the kitchen.
“By doing lots of what I call kitchen think recipes, where there’s lots of different variations for each one, both in cooking methods and ingredients, I’m hoping that it opens the door to that.”
If you’re anxious about cooking in the kitchen, don’t fret. McLellan doesn’t believing eating well has to be strenuous.
“My philosophy is just to eat real food,” says McLellan. “I don’t think that it needs to be overly complicated…I’d say don’t make it too hard on yourself, just try to eat real food instead of super processed junk.”
Eating well is important to overall health and wellbeing. She’s hoping this cookbook will help students make healthier decisions.
“Food is medicine. If I could help somebody when they’re starting out in adulthood and lay out healthy habits opposed to unhealthy habits, I might be able to help somebody prevent some diseases that are related to diet. That would be the ultimate accomplishment.”