November 27, 2022


Conestoga Students Inc. has created a cookbook for students who need a little help in the kitchen. The book, which is free, gives advice on how to cook and eat healthy on a student budget.

Jeff Scherer, CSI president, said the board of directors has been talking about a cookbook since he became president a few years ago. However, he said it takes a lot to create a cookbook. All the organizing, design and research on recipes takes time and dedication.

“It’s always been kind of a plan to put together a cookbook for students,” Scherer said, adding the plan was to promote healthier eating for students rather than fast food or dining out, and to promote low cost and easy meals.

Scherer said the cookbook gives students an opportunity to cook relatively easy meals that are cost friendly and have healthier ingredients.

Andrea D’Ambrosio, a registered dietitian and owner of Dietetic Directions, said it is important people see cooking nutritiously as budget friendly and that it can be a delicious meal. She said it can inspire students to get in the kitchen.

Dietitians Canada says 43 per cent of Canadians say they do not cook balanced meals for themselves or their families. Scherer said a person coming to college for the first time may experience the difficulties of cooking for themselves and resort to easy, unhealthy meals. The cookbook offers meals that are a healthier choice than mac and cheese or fast food.

Scherer said he hopes that CSI can add to and update the book each year. He said they will wait for feedback and see how popular the book is at the smaller campuses. It is currently only available at the Waterloo and Cambridge campuses and there are about eight recipes in it. Hopefully, the cookbook will be at the Doon campus within the next few weeks.

“The board last year had talked about student submissions so if students have family recipes or recipes they came up with, we would have contests,” Scherer said. This is an idea they may run in the future to choose the best or most popular recipes.

“There are many such cookbooks out there, some good and some not so good,” said Keith Muller, the chair of the School of Business and Hospitality. “Students need a reliable and trustworthy source for healthy eating.” He suggests having some cooking classes to accompany the book and help students get started cooking.

“Nutrition affects everybody in how they think and how they feel. Eating well helps optimize our health and can help our emotional state,” D’Ambrosio said. This is why it is important students have healthy meals and pay attention to their diet.

Muller and D’Ambrosio have some tips for students on the best ways to be healthy at college. They encourage students to cook their own meals and eat out less. They also said to plan for extras and put them in the freezer, so they can be heated up later, and learn how to shop wisely because bulk purchasing is not always the best and so much ends up being thrown out.

“I would like to just say when you are able to make your own meals you are in the driver’s seat of your diet. You are in control of the items you put in your meals,” D’Ambrosio said.

Many of the ingredients for the recipes in the cookbook are healthy. Scherer said the cookbook centres around items a student already has or would want to purchase.

“If students have feedback or comments on it than come in and tell us,” Scherer said. Students who want a cookbook or want to know more can go to CSI’s main office at any campus.

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