What's your nutrition position?
Where are you on the scale of unhealthy to healthy?
Do you know what you should be eating and how much? And if so, with a busy college lifestyle...are you actually doing it? It's hard as college students to eat healthy. Most healthy meals take time to prepare and we just don't have that these days. However, the first step to being healthy is having the knowledge.
I didn't have the knowledge. That's why I went to talk to Linda B. Bobroff, Ph.D., RD, LD/N, professor of Family, Youth and Community Sciences at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences on campus. She was able to give me some useful information for college women. The following information comes from my interview with her.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offers nutritional recommendations from the USDA and offers guidelines for vegetarians and vegans as well.
ChooseMyPlate.gov is a consumer-friendly resource to help you build a healthy diet specifically for you. On this website, you can enter your own height, weight, age and gender as well as track what you eat and your daily physical activity. This site will help you track your weight loss or gain and provide you with food recommendations.
Is eating healthy on campus possible?
According to Dr. Bobroff it is. "There are a variety of healthy food choices on campus," she said. "You can make lousy choices or you can make good choices." She said that Fresh Food Company, which supplies the food to our dining halls, offers salads and low fat options. The healthy choice is there, you just have to make it instead of going for the pizza or cookies. Dr. Bobroff also said that many places on campus "buy locally produced vegetables, which are fresher."
What nutrients are important for college women?
- Iron. It is important for women to get enough iron because we lose a lot each month during our menstrual cycles. Iron is found in red meat and poultry, so vegetarians need to supplement their iron consumption.
- Calcium. This can be accomplished through consuming dairy products
- Vitamin D. Dairy products provide this also.
- Vitamin B 12. Many vegans have a problem with this as Vitamin B 12 is found in animal-produced products. However, it can also be found in fortified foods such as fortified cereals.
- Folic Acid. This can be found in fortified foods such as fortified flour or in leafy greens. Folic acid is very important for women in their child bearing years. A lack of folic acid can cause neural tube defects in a fetus which is life-threatening to the child. If you don't consume enough now, "by the time you know you're pregnant it is too late," Dr. Bobroff said.
Dr. Bobroff said that all natural isn't always best. She said, "I like to say that snake venom is natural, is that a good thing?" Sometimes fortified foods are good for us because they provide the nutrients we are lacking because we are not consuming the food group that provides it.