A large percentage of Americans prefer fast food over healthy foods due to the perception that fast food is easier and more affordable. However, healthy food can be both of those things, too, as made evident by MemphisEATS, a student-driven program dedicated to serving students, faculty, and the community plant-focused meals. These meals are crafted and prepared by students in the College of Health Sciences.
Each week, the students offer one meat option and one vegetarian option to accommodate different dietary lifestyles.
The main goal of this program is to provide healthy, affordable, and convenient meals. Meals cost $10-12 per serving and are available to order online each week beginning at midnight on Fridays through the following Wednesdays at 11:59 p.m. Orders can be picked up at the R. Brad Martin Student Wellness Center Tiger Cafe.
The meals follow a Mediterranean diet, which has been proven to be one of the healthiest diet options. MemphisEATS meals are designed to be beneficial to overall gut health, as their ingredients place value on gut health and food diversity. The concept for the program originated in 2019. The first step in the process was to develop recipes to put together meal plans to input into a database for testing groups.
To test the longevity of the food, groups were asked to try meals after they had been reheated. The first test was a success. However, the program decided to take a different direction and partner with Chartwell dining services to increase proficiency. Nevertheless, there was a second test run of MemphisEATS last semester, which reportedly achieved a great response, according to program leaders.
Marie van der Merwe, program coordinator for the new Applied Physiology and Nutrition doctoral program, said, “People appeared to be enjoying the program because there were many returning customers.”
Merwe also emphasized the fact that parents with families to feed can take advantage of this program rather than having to stress about what to cook.
“We wanted to have fresh meals that are affordable and convenient for everyone,” Van Der Merwe said.
MemphisEATS meals are officially available to order online, and they plan to do a final test over the next two months. If everything goes according to plan, the program will be implemented permanently. MemphisEATS meals are packed with probiotics and no hidden ingredients. For students and faculty on the go who prioritize nutritional food, balanced healthy eating can be achieved in three steps: pick-up, heat and eat.