The undesirable “freshman 15”: the weight gain many college students experience during their first year. Let’s face it, the main cause is food.
For many students, attending college it their first time away from home. The college offers a multitude of things from coursework to extra-curricular activities. They emphasize how splendid the food is and how much the students love it. But how healthy is the food? What is it that we are actually consuming?
Many schools opt for the buffet style, Wilkes included. They emphasize a variety of meal options offered. However, with all of this great food at our fingertips, students may not realize how much food they eat in one sitting or if what they’re eating is even good for them.
Knowing what is and isn’t healthy is the first step for proper nutrition. It helps you realize what is appropriate to eat. It can be a challenge in college to live a healthy lifestyle, but it is an important habit for the future.
Wilkes is in contract with Sodexo food services, which provides the meals to the students. Many of the products are local produce, and new food deliveries are brought to Wilkes twice a week.
“Susan Hurd, our registered dietitian, comes once a month to discuss healthy food options to have. This month she is coming to talk about healthy pumpkin smoothies and pumpkin seeds. She will also be available soon for students to be able to text her anytime with health questions they might have,” commented Jason Klinetob, manager of Sodexo.
A food journal is the best thing for keeping track of what you are eating, how healthy or unhealthy it is, and what you need to be eating more or less of.
“MyFitnessPal” is a free app that anyone can download onto their smartphone. It allows you to put in what meals you are eating, what you are drinking, and you can even log in what workouts, if any, you are doing throughout the week. It tracks your progress and lets you know if you are consuming too much fat, salt, sugar, or so on. It allows you to be aware of what you are ingesting.
It is not entirely about losing weight but rather making sure you are healthy. If someone ate cookies, chips, or ice cream every day and did not exercise it could lead to health problems later in life.
There are no benefits when you eat junk food and foods that are high in fat. ‘MyFitnessPal’ is not the only thing students can use to keep on track to a healthy lifestyle. There are several different websites online, groups on Facebook, and bloggers on Twitter that discuss healthy food options and how to maintain it all. Wilkes even offers nutrition classes.
Mary Babcock, a professor here at Wilkes, teaches a nutrition class. She always stresses to her students how important it is to try and eat fruits, vegetables, grains and low fat dairy products daily. Red meat should be at a minimum and can be easily substituted with lean meats like turkey or chicken. It is important to stay active, even if it is something small — if you do not use it, you lose it.
“Healthy foods are important, but exercise is crucial too. Walking for 30 minutes to an hour a day can be very beneficial.
Even in ten minute increments three times a day or even workout DVDs (because I know some students might not want to leave their room) can go a long way as long as you incorporate it in your daily routine,” Babcock said.
Sleep is also an important factor in living a healthy lifestyle. Sleeping less than five hours could change the hormones in your body and could also increase calorie intake.
Sleeping for six to eight hours a night is a healthy amount of sleep, sleeping more than nine hours could do more harm than good.
Staying active, eating and sleeping right is essential in living a healthy lifestyle.
For more information and helpful tips on a healthy lifestyle, healthy food recipes, exercises and more, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.