Healthy Food, Balanced Budget – The Arapahoe Pinnacle
“‘Plan it out’ is what I learned,” said Jessi Colmenero at the conclusion of the Good4U Food on a Budget workshop. The free nutritional presentation was given by Kim Moceri to a room full of students and staff at Arapahoe Community College on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.
Moceri, a registered dietician and nutritional health coach for Natural Grocers, discussed the challenges to healthy eating when on a budget. She shared strategies to use before, during and after grocery shopping including menu planning, comparison shopping and using leftovers.
“I had a problem knowing what to chose,” Colmenero, a general ed student, said about his previous trips to the grocery store. Moceri recommended consulting recipes and making a list of before hitting the market. Now Colmenero has a new approach: “Plan everything out before I go to the store…think about what I want to eat, meals I like.”
Jennifer Dena mentioned a different struggle. “I’m pretty good at meal planning,” said the student support specialist. “My pitfalls are the evenings.” She thought Natural Grocers’ suggestion to have ready-made healthy snacks, such as chopped veggies or fresh fruit, on hand might be helpful.
Moceri’s presentation also covered serving size, the recommended daily allowances of fruits and vegetables, and ways to use food to prevent waste. Smoothies and soup were two suggestions for using up extra produce before it goes bad. She encouraged participants to be inventive and fearless in the kitchen. “Think of some of the crazy soups you can make just by throwing random vegetables together,” she said.
The nutritional workshop included free salad and sandwiches from Kneaders Bakery & Cafe for the 20 people that registered. The cost of lunch came out the departmental budget for Student Life which is funded by student fees. Holly Adinoff, the coordinator of student organizations and wellness programs at ACC, arranged the event and ordered the food. “We try to do programming that reflects what students want and are looking for,” Adinoff said.
Although Student Life does not have another nutritional workshop on the calendar, Natural Grocers hosts cooking and nutrition events throughout the year. Moceri mentioned that she would be giving a seminar on gluten-free living at Natural Grocers, on March 10, at the Centennial-Cherry Knolls location.
“Don’t be afraid to get creative. Don’t be afraid to eat whatever favorite foods you want. And don’t be afraid to plan ahead. Planning ahead is really the biggest lifesaver of them all,” Moceri advised near the end of her presentation.
“I loved it,” Colmenero said when it was over. “This is exactly what I needed.”