The importance of good nutrition during the pandemic

Langara students look to eat healthy, with some preferring home-cooked meals

The Langara College cafeteria, tables socially distanced with no students in sight on Oct. 15, 2020 (Breanne Doyle/ Photo)
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 By Breanne Doyle

Students concerned about healthy eating during the pandemic should stick to the basics, says UBC nutrition professor Gerry Kasten.

Cafeterias, restaurants, and coffee shops across the campus have been shut down since March 21 due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Students who must attend classes in person have limited options for finding lunches and snacks.

“Good basic nutrition says, eat regularly throughout the day, eat within a couple of hours of getting up, and choose a wide variety of foods. Most of us could eat more vegetables and fruits,” Kasten said.

“If you’re choosing grains, then whole grains offer more nutrition than refined grains.”

“Before the lockdown, I used to bring my own food anyway,” accounting student Thelma Kawashita said. “Not much has changed.”

Kawashita prefers to bring food from home if she needs to eat while at the campus.

“I plan meals ahead of time,” she said.

When she goes to college, she brings different food items from home, like a pie or a cake to eat during lunch.

However, most students aren’t required to be at the campus the entire day for classes. So cafeterias and restaurants being closed do not seem to affect them much.

For students who are facing a financial hit with the pandemic during the term, Cristel Moubarak, an instructor in the nutrition and food service management department at Langara, recommended the Community Cupboard, a program that provides a week’s worth of food to students in need.

Moubarak said students should feel no shame in taking advantage of the program. “It’s important to realize that getting good food… and being full is the first step for them to perform well in school.”

Students who are looking to take advantage of the Langara Community Cupboard need only to complete a form on the Langara website, and pick up their grocery bag on campus.

Students who are looking to know more about the program can log onto the Langara website.

 

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