Learn to cook: Benefit health and wallet

By Uriel Gonzalez

If the prospect of saving money and eating great food on campus sounds unbelievable, you would be right.

Here is a tip: learn to cook.

If you are an aficionado of fast foods, Cal Poly Pomona has you covered, but you better dust off your pocket book and get ready to drop some big bucks.

Whether it be Subway, Taco Bell, Qdoba or Panda Express, more likely than not CPP carries something to fancy your fast food palette.

But eating fast doesn’t necessarily come cheap. You would be hard pressed to find a meal under $7 that would suffice to satisfy a hungry college student.

Sure, CPP even has alternative options where you can get something freshly cooked by a human being, but it is going to leave your already tight college budget in shambles.

Let’s create a scene.

So you walk down to the most hip, happenin’ spot on campus where all of the coolest boys and girls hang out as they listen to the latest rap-hop CD by the Jonas Brothers, the Poly Trolley. You enthusiastically order a California burrito, and before you know it you are already $8.50 in the red for a medium-sized burrito. Let’s be clear, that price does not include a refreshing beverage to hydrate your face with, it is going to have to be extra.

Let’s say you want to start eating fresh, because the overwhelming fog of your impending mortality has you spooked. In your attempt to turn over a new leaf, you trot down to Poly Fresh in true Bronco fashion for one of their pre-packaged salads. Upon walking in, the chicken salad catches your eye and you drop $8 on what is 80 percent lettuce. All of the sudden, eating smart doesn’t feel so smart on campus.

If affordability is not an issue, then spend away, because eating a couple of meals here and there on campus across the span of an 11-week quarter can easily add up to hundreds of dollars down the drain.

Even amongst all of the dread, if you look hard enough there are some okay deals on campus.

If you pride yourself in your Kobayashi-esque competitive eating ability, then buffets are your forte, and the best value on campus is Los Olivos by a country mile. With an all-you-can-eat $7.50 breakfast, $9 lunch and $10 dinner, you can binge on salads, pizza, Mongolian cuisine and dozens of other dining options until you hate yourself.

If you want something with soul, something actually cooked by a person on a stovetop, not a deep fryer or microwave, you are better off going elsewhere.

A meal that is not pre-prepared, formulaic or made by teens wearing latex gloves on an assembly line is hard to come by around these parts.

Ultimately, if you are looking to eat well and not break the bank, you should pack a lunch to school.

Not surprisingly, buying your own ingredients and cooking meals in your off-time costs a fraction of what it does to eat out, especially at school.

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 62 percent of adults are eating out infrequently because of high costs. On top of that, the gap has never been wider between the cost of produce and cooked food; there has been a 2.4 percent increase in subsequent years for restaurant prices, whereas, there has been a 1.9 percent drop in food at home.

Your inner punk rocker will love sticking it to the man by waning that reliance on service foods.

Benefits from cooking

Robert Diep / The Poly Post

Benefits from cooking

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