Eating healthy can be a struggle in itself, especially when limited to the options at Dining Services and on a tight budget. Recognizing this, The Alestle reached out to talk about these concerns to nutrition instructor Cynthia Inman, who is also a registered dietician and exercise physiologist.
1. How can students still eat foods they enjoy and stay healthy?
“I’m really big on there’s no such thing as a bad food, it’s really just how much and how often you eat that,” Inman said. “So, I’m not saying having a piece of thick crust pizza every once in awhile is a bad thing, if that’s what you like then certainly have that, but occasionally, not every day.”
2. What are some healthy, quick snacks students can choose?
“One of my tricks is I buy the carrots that are cut like chips and I use them like chips,” Inman said. “Instead of having potato chips or tortilla chips around, I use them with hummus, so, I’m getting a really low-calorie snack that is kind of like a chip because it’s a carrot chip.”
3. What are some advantages to meal prepping?
“I think probably the biggest reason people have difficulty eating healthy is they either don’t want to plan or they don’t know how to plan,” Inman said. “When you do meal prepping, you really have to plan: you have to plan for your grocery trip and then schedule a time to spend an hour or so prepping meals for the next several days, if not a week out.”
4. How can students save money and still maintain a healthy diet?
“You can go through that salad bar [at Dining Services], really load up on the salad and veggies and so forth and when you get your sandwich have half of it and save the other half for later,” Inman said. “You can save some money that way, and you’re not eating so much of the higher fat items over the more nutritious, higher-fiber fresh fruits and vegetables.”
5. Besides health benefits, what are some other advantages to eating healthy?
“There’s lots of research about the higher fiber, more nutritious foods help people to concentrate better, so perhaps they could do even better in their classes when they’re eating healthier,” Inman said. “If they’re just having ramen noodles and that’s it, they’re going to have blood sugar highs for a little while and then it’s going to crash, and that can obviously interfere in concentration in classes and so forth.”
For more information regarding nutrition, Inman recommends visiting choosemyplate.gov.