But for many medical students, time and money are often very limited, which can sabotage healthy eating habits.
Recognizing this, second-year medical students Alyssa Ettinger and Sarah Mattessich organized “Cooking Healthy on a Student Budget,” during which they and other second-year students prepared dishes and shared samples in the student lounge Friday.
“The idea is, what can we make for a meal for under $20, that might last for a week, that’s healthy,” Mattesich says.
Along with the samples were recipe instructions, including nutrition facts and cost.
“We want to show them it’s pretty easy if you know what to do with fresh foods,” Ettinger says. “Just showing a variety of ways to use ingredients for multiple different recipes, and even ways that you can make portions and freeze it for later, but at least the original food was fresher because you made it and you know what’s in it.”
Funding from the American Medical Association Section Involvement Grant program made Friday’s healthy cooking event possible.
“We are really proud of our students for applying for and attaining a grant to support this event,” says Dr. Suzanne Rose, UConn School of Medicine senior associate dean for education. “This initiative is part of our very important efforts to promote student wellness. We applaud our students’ initiative, creativity and their leadership in enhancing our school and fostering a warm, caring, and healthy environment.”
Ettinger and Mattesich are among the 10 second-year students who make up the UConn School of Medicine’s AMA chapter board.
“Our chapter is extremely active,” says Mattesich, who, as treasurer of the UConn AMA chapter, handles much of the grant writing. “We sponsor a lot of schoolwide activities that are really well attended. We’re one of the largest groups on our campus.”
Both students are also part of AMA’s Integrative Medicine Group, with Ettinger serving as student leader. They also are on the medical school’s newly formed student wellness committee.
“The wellness aspect of this event is a great way for our AMA chapter to contribute to UConn’s Student Wellness Initiative,” says Ettinger, whose role on the board is recruitment chair. “This also is an opportunity to have students learn more about the AMA, all the resources it gives and all the ways it contributes to student development.”