Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Sheryl Aguilar

Second Advisor

Heidi Wengreen

Third Advisor

Kristine Miller


Background: In previous research, college students reported low confidence and varying skill in meal preparation ability. This study evaluates first-year university students to determine the acceptability of meal preparation programming for this population.

Objective: To assess university freshmen's skill level, confidence, and interest in food budgeting, meal planning, and cooking techniques to determine potential interventions.

Methods: First-year university students (n=265; 58 men, 205 women) were recruited through Facebook and email invitations to complete a 50-item survey. Survey categories included skills/confidence in food budgeting (8), meal planning (12), and cooking techniques 12); class interest (4), student background information (9), and general comment sections (5). Student responses were compiled into food budgeting, meal planning, and cooking technique composite scores. One-way ANOVA and descriptive statistics were used to report mean data and compare groups within

Results: The mean composite scores for food budgeting, meal planning, and meal preparation were 27.8/40 (SD:5.46), 37/53 (SD:6.95), 37.9/48 (SD: 6.87) respectively. Females scored higher than males in food budgeting (p=0.006) and meal planning (p=0.001). Students in health-related majors scored higher in all three categories (p=0.010), (p=0.002), and (p=0.001) respectively. Individuals reporting food insecurity scored lower in all three categories (p=0.001), (p=0.001), and (p=0.001) respectively. 86% of students reported interest in class attendance. Comments indicated desire for :flexibility and recipe/application ideas.

Conclusion: Students were more confident in cooking techniques than food budgeting or meal planning. The evidence shows opportunity to propose future interventions for university freshmen.

Included in

Nutrition Commons