Aramark nutritionist Amanda Cross Hagerman told a small group of students who gathered to eat lunch with her Monday to eat food from plants, not food made in plants.
Hagerman met the students at Devils' Greens residential restaurant on the Downtown campus. She works at all campuses to educate students about healthy eating and proper nutrition. She and another nutritionists focus on getting people at ASU more nutritionally aware.
“The main thing is to just get people more nutritionally aware,” she said.
Hagerman said she does everything from cooking demos, consultations and signature health events. She hosts various events often and if she does an event on one campus, she will do it on another.
Hagerman said she is just giving students the tools to improve their eating habits through cooking classes and lunches like the one on Monday. She also focuses heavily on how to identify the foods people should eat and how to know what will nourish and what will be detrimental to the body.
“I like to give students not only the skills to cook, but also how to identify (if it is) real food,” she said.
Students can often be picky about food and stick to what they know, but there are many delicious and nourishing foods that students may be too afraid to try, Hagerman said.
“It shows them that there’s a lot of options out there,” she said. “I think today too many students just eat chicken fingers because that’s what they grew up on.”
Nursing sophomore Kia Ruiz heard about the lunch through her stress management class and decided to attend.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” Ruiz said. “I don’t really get a whole lot of nutrition information. I’m not very educated on it, and so I thought it would be cool to come here and learn a little bit more about what’s healthier.”
Ruiz said she thinks that a lot of the information she gained at the lunch will be helpful to her career. She thinks that having knowledge about what is good or bad nutrition could help her help her patients to eat better and be healthier.
Nursing sophomore Kaitlin Grant lives off campus with Ruiz and said she has an incredibly busy lifestyle. She said she tends to eat food that is easy to prepare even though it is unhealthy for her.
“It’s more difficult to plan balanced meals because you have to find the time to go to the store in between classes and find the time to make it in between doing your courses, and doing your homework, and studying, and working, and everything,” she said. “It just becomes easier to buy things like a box of Ramen, or soup, or pasta, or some microwave meal that is ready in minutes that you can eat while you’re running around the house studying note cards.”
Grant said she understands the importance of eating balanced meals that will nourish her body and thinks she was able to glean information and try new foods at the lunch that will help her eat healthier in the future.
“I think it’s important, because we have to be eating properly if we’re going to get the right amount of, I guess, brain power that we need to do our work every day,” she said.
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