The last thing many college students want to do after a long day of classes and work is go home and cook a wholesome meal. As a result, students can resort to the typical college diet — ramen, mac and cheese and sometimes even just a couple of snacks. They might go about the activities they would much rather partake in, like watching TV or catching up on homework, ignoring the fact that the ramen they ate at 8 p.m. is surely not enough sustenance to keep them awake and able to write that paper late into the night.
In an effort to create an economical way for the campus community to receive healthy meals, the Wellness Kitchen located in the Recreation and Wellness Center on East Campus provides a service called Meal Kit Monday. Every other Monday of the month, the Wellness Kitchen prepares four-serving meal kits with everything needed to cook a well-balanced meal in under an hour. Each meal kit costs 15 dollars.
According to Marissa Pakiz, wellness and nutrition education coordinator for Campus Recreation, the program was initially created in the spring semester of 2018 to provide more opportunities for people to partake in the services offered by the Wellness Kitchen.
“Meal Kit Monday is kind of a take on a meal delivery service like ‘Hello Fresh’ or ‘Blue Apron,’” Pakiz said. “You’re given a recipe with pre-portioned ingredients that you can take and make at home. It’s really easy and convenient for people who maybe don’t have time to take a class in the Wellness Kitchen but still want easy, healthy, budget-friendly meals.
There are always three different meal options to choose from each Meal Kit Monday event. The meals are chosen for their taste and nutritional value.
“The meals are either selected by dietetic interns, graduate assistants or undergraduate student employees,” Pakiz said. “We look for a balanced meal, so we try to include a carbohydrate, a protein and a vegetable with every meal. We just choose meals that we think people generally will like and try to tailor it to multiple different taste levels as well.”
Additionally, the Meal Kit Monday staff ensures the meal kits are considerate of people’s different dietary needs and preferences.
“Every Meal Kit Monday, we choose one recipe that is meat-free,” Pakiz said. “People are also always welcome to reach out to me or to leave a little note when signing up for their meal kit with different allergies. We’ll be sure to find a replacement for that ingredient or if it’s applicable, just leave that item out of the box.”
Students can register for the next Meal Kit Monday — March 15 — on the wellness services website or on the Mindbody app. Students must register by the preceding Wednesday.
Jennifer Beres, wellness services graduate assistant, said she believes Meal Kit Monday is beneficial because it provides the campus community with a cheaper alternative to traditional meal service kits.
“We offer nutritious, convenient meals with no shipping and little packaging,” Beres said. “It’s also really cheap; it’s only 15 dollars for four servings. Compared to bigger name meal services, this is a really great option.”