Published on 22 July 2014
Students from the University of the Sunshine Coast have produced a new cookbook designed to address the issue of food insecurity by providing healthy, affordable meals for young people on a budget.
The majority of recipes in the cookbook cost less than $15 to make and include at least three types of vegetables and one source of meat or alternative protein.
The free resource is now available to students, is being handed out during Orientation Week this week, and is available as an online PDF.
The new project follows on from a highly successful cookbook launched in 2009 by Nutrition and Dietetics students at the University. More than 12,000 copies were distributed.
USC’s Nutrition and Dietetics program Clinical Placement Trainer Angela Cleary said feedback gathered via on-campus focus groups and surveys found healthy eating on a budget was still a concern for many students.
“We know that students are at high risk of food insecurity, due to their limited budgets and often their ability to cook as well,” Ms Cleary said. “As a result, we made sure everything in the cookbook can be made with less than 10 ingredients and minimal skill.”
Recipes were submitted by USC staff and students and were compiled by Public Health Nutrition students as part of a six-week work-integrated placement.
Students modified recipes to ensure they could be made with basic utensils and assessed ingredients based on several key health criteria.
“We know that very few people consume enough vegetables, and we also know that iron deficiency in young women is very common,” Ms Cleary said. “So those were the key things we focussed on.
“It’s about helping people to eat healthily on a budget, so we also included information on where the local farmer’s markets are and how to eat seasonally.”
Ms Cleary said the project gave Public Health Nutrition students hands-on experience in managing issues like food insecurity, which was very important to their development as future practitioners.
The new cookbook has been funded as an Equity Initiative by USC’s Student Life and Learning and has taken students about 12 months to produce.
USC’s Student Equity and Diversity Officer Marjorie Blowers said helping students manage food insecurity was an important priority for the University.
“Because we have a large cohort of students who are the first in their family to attend university, or are from disadvantaged backgrounds, it is important students know they have support in maintaining a good, nutritious diet that can be managed on a tight income,” she said.
“Through the cookbook and our work with Nutrition and Dietetics students we are able to achieve that aim.”
— Jarna Baudinette