Healthy eating. We all know it is important. We’ve always been told to eat our 5+ servings of fruit and vegetables, choose wholegrains, eat less saturated fat, cut back on sodium and sugar…simple. Right?
Actually, not really! Because despite knowing this and desiring to eat healthy and nourishing foods for the mental and physical benefits they bring, it can be so difficult to make a conscious choice to do so. For a student, it may be the last thing on your mind! If you’re rushing to a 3 hour lab and hardly have time to buy anything let alone analyse a nutritional label, if you’re not able to pack yourself a nutritious lunch from home, or if you just don’t know what exactly a healthy meal should look like, it’s understandable that you would want the quickest and easiest option.
Fortunately, there is a solution which can ease so much of that pressure for you, and it is right here on our university campus- Better Kai.
Better Kai is an initiative organised by a group of student dieticians who recognise and understand the difficulties in making healthy food choices. Their aim was to create a nutritious university food environment, so they visited food outlets throughout the university to identify and present healthy foods with their badge of honour (see below).
This includes foods which are low in saturated fat, processed sugar and salt, have generous quantities of fruit, vegetables or wholegrains, or have options for smaller portions. Although this is always important to be aware of, it’s especially important at university if you want to be able to concentrate, clear away the cobwebs and feel energised throughout the day-even when you have an 8am lecture!
On top of this, these student dieticians wanted to ensure that the healthy food environment would be both easily accessible and appealing to all university students (so don’t worry, its not just about eating plain salads and drinking water everyday!) In fact – it is so realistic, and could be as simple as choosing brown over white rice, grilled instead of friend chicken, or a fruit smoothie over an iced chocolate.
Your tastebuds and personal preferences will certainly be satisfied by the vast array of options that are available in retailers scattered throughout all University of Auckland campuses.
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to try some of the Better Kai options which are currently available from the ‘Needo’ fresh pasta stall, Mojo Coffee, Superfino Café, and UniSushi. Everything that I ate felt nourishing and supplied me with the energy I needed to make it through a long day- without even needing to rely on caffeine!
But that’s not all- if that doesn’t sound like your thing, you could also check out Shadows Bar, Munchy Mart, Ha Poke, Barilla Dumplings, Shaky Isles…among many other places which are already very popular among us students! Another bonus is that all of these retailers are very centralised to university (one could even be right outside your lecture theatre!), so you don’t need to even leave the campus to get a good feed.
One of the barriers to healthy eating is that it can be expensive, but many of the Better Kai foods which I came across are very budget friendly and don’t cost more than other foods on the menu just for being healthy!
Of course, this doesn’t mean you always have to eat healthy. There is nothing shameful about not choosing a Better Kai option, and you can definitely still treat yourself with your favourite food. I think that it’s so great how readily available these options are – how healthy eating is becoming so much easier for us.
There is only one thing that you need to do – and that is to recognise the bright green Better Kai sticker. How easy is that? Healthy food is right at your fingertips, ready and waiting to ready to fuel your brain through your through your study