Healthy habits: the earlier, the better

MOVING out of home for the first time is a mixed bag of emotions. 

You’re faced with a newfound freedom, but with that comes responsibilities. And topping the list of those responsibilities is fending for yourself – cooking, cleaning and many other jobs you took for granted growing up. 

Most students who move away for university are living on a tight budget. 

The pantry and fridge are usually empty, except for maybe the odd packet of two-minute microwaveable noodles or a can of baked beans. 

It’s a time when, for many, a healthy lifestyle goes to the wayside. 

You socialise a bit too much, are usually sleep-deprived, and spend what little money you have leftover from all that socialising to try and feed yourself. 

It’s usually a midnight run to your local fast food chain or a loaf of bread stashed away in your freezer that fits the bill. They don’t call it fresher spread for no reason. 

But it’s pleasing to see that many young people are now choosing to prioritise health. 

Based at the city’s University of Newcastle rural health campus, dietetics and nutrition student Mitchell Williams hopes the cookbook will give his fellow students healthy, simple and affordable eating options.

It comes on the back of a separate study by the uni last year finding 93 per cent of students don’t eat the necessary servings of fruit and vegetable while studying.

While more than half eat the recommended two serves of fruit per day (54.5 per cent), less than one-in-10 (8.4 per cent) hit the benchmark for veggie consumption.

Mr Williams is the perfect candidate to try and debunk misconceptions about healthy eating. 

Young people are going to be far more inclined to learn from a peer than someone throwing information at them from afar.

Following a survey of his Tamworth cohorts, he found a range of perceived barriers – lack of motivation, lack of time and costs – were impeding healthier choices. 

While the book will remain at the campus, we could all take a lesson out of it. 

The earlier we can start introducing healthier habits into our lifestyles, the better.

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