College 101: Eat Healthy

We’ve all heard of freshman fifteen and we all try to avoid it. We promise ourselves that we’re not going to gain that extra fifteen pounds during our first year of college. Most of us think we’re going to make it to the gym. Let’s be honest. After taking at least twelve credit hours and studying for midterms, you’re worn out. There’s no time to think about that freshman fifteen.

One easy way to avoid it is by simply eating fruits and vegetables. Luckily, we are surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables. Even some value-added products are healthful and organic, making it easy to avoid the freshman fifteen. Local growers’ markets allow you to get natural fruits and vegetables while investing in our local economy. There are also financial barriers that keep students from being able to purchase local and organic food because it tends to be a little higher in price. However, in the long run it is worth it. The University of New Mexico is a great location for the staff, students, and faculty to receive local, wholesome foods.

The best place to buy organic and local food is the La Montanita Co-op; two locations near campus allow students to easily access these products. The small store is located next to the UNM Bookstore on campus. However, there isn’t a huge inventory of fresh fruit or vegetables, but they do have local and organic products. The larger La Montanita store is conveniently located in Nob Hill at Central & Carlisle. The Nob Hill location offers a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Growers’ markets supply some of the local food you will find in the community. There are two nearby locations to benefit the UNM community. The Downtown Growers’ Market is located in Robinson Park, at the corner of 8th Street & Central, and is held on Saturdays from 7-11 am. The Nob Hill Growers’ Market is held at Morningside Park off of Morningside & Lead. This market runs on Thursday evenings from 3-6:30 pm. In addition to fresh produce, you can find local value-added products at these growers’ markets. Heidi’s Raspberry Jam is made with the raspberries that are grown in Corrales and Los Lunas. The jam is delicious and makes a nutritious snack.

Another place you can find local and organic food is at grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Sprouts. Walmart and Smith’s also have organic sections now. UNM holds an annual growers’ market in the spring that allows for students, staff, and faculty to enjoy local and organic products ranging from soaps to sprouts.

Transportation can be one of the most challenging obstacles to eating local, especially for UNM students. Many students either don’t have cars or depend on other modes of transportation. For the on-campus co-op and growers’ market event, transportation shouldn’t be too difficult. However, the stores and markets off campus are more challenging to reach. Luckily, UNM students receive free bus passes on our college IDs. Being able to ride the bus for free is a huge benefit especially when traveling more than a few stoplights.

The three stars indicate the University of New Mexico, and the growers' markets at Robinson Park and Morningside Park. Map by Ashli.

The three stars indicate the University of New Mexico, and the growers’ markets at Robinson Park and Morningside Park. Both are easily navigable by bus. Map by Ashli.

Even if you dread going to the growers’ market, Albuquerque offers so many unique ways to enjoy local food. There are some fantastic restaurants that use local food. Seasons, Zinc, Scalo Italian Restaurant, and Artichoke Café are some of the restaurants where you can enjoy local food.

Albuquerque has a thriving foodshed that all students should have an opportunity to benefit from. We can avoid the freshman fifteen by eating more local produce and healthful options. If you haven’t yet gotten your free bus pass, now is the time. Enjoy all the local food and products Albuquerque has to offer!

Check out http://www.deliciousnm.org/eat-local/ for more ways to connect with local food.

-Posted by Ashli

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