Healthy living begins with healthy eating.
However, eating healthfully can be extremely challenging, not to mention expensive for the average college student. Rather than bother with the hassle of reading labels and measuring serving sizes, many students, myself included, opt to just toss an extra frozen pizza or two into the shopping cart for a quick and easy at-home meal.
Unfortunately for me, my body has begun to grow sideways in protest of all those late-night frozen meals.
Luckily, the higher ups on campus recognized long ago the need for a university dietician to help students deal with their nutrition anxieties. Meet Jill Kelly, Western's registered expert in all things diet and nutrient related. From eating disorders and weight management to advanced sports nutrition and cardiovascular health, Kelly is available for one-on-one nutritional counseling with Western students.
For a more in-depth approach to diet, call the Student Health Center at (360) 650-3400 to schedule an appointment with Kelly, whereby you'll be able to personalize your dietary goals to fit your individual needs. And don't fret if you haven't the faintest clue where to start. Kelly happily agreed to meet with me after I bluntly declared I'd like to drop a few burgers per week off my midsection.
The AS Review has gathered a short list of quick and easy nutrition tips that nearly everyone can put to use right away. Follow these guidelines, starting now, for a head start at total body fitness and dietary well-being:
Contrary to popular belief, skipping breakfast isn't the secret to avoiding the infamous “freshman 15.” A healthy breakfast is key to jump starting your metabolism and allowing your body to efficiently burn calories throughout the rest of the day. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy dose of carbohydrates and protein will get you going in the morning and keep you full until lunch rolls around. Try whole wheat toast spread with natural peanut butter and throw in a banana for good measure.
Carbohydrates should supply nearly 60 percent of an individual's daily caloric intake. However, it's important that the majority of carbohydrate consumption comes from foods like whole grains, low-fat dairy and fresh fruits. Avoid simple sugars such as soda and candy, which have little nutritional value and can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Keep in mind that snacking can actually be beneficial in keeping off the pounds and ensuring your body has enough energy to make it through the day. Nuts, low-fat yogurt, whole-grain crackers, apples or baby carrots are great options. Keep your body satisfied with any number of healthy on-the-go foods. But do your best to avoid candy bars, soda pop and the dollar menu at the local drive-through.
Not all fats are bad. In fact, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats promote cardiovascular health. These can be found in foods such as olive oil, tuna and salmon. However, do your best to avoid saturated fats, which can raise levels of bad cholesterol in your body and lead to increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Take a multivitamin every day. In 2002, the Council for Responsible Nutrition released a 100-plus page report measuring the health benefits of multivitamins. The report concluded, among other things, that the addition of a multivitamin to most diets will have positive health benefits for most individuals, from children to elderly. The fact is that many of us just don't get enough essential nutrients from day to day. One multivitamin every day is good compensation.
And remember that it's okay to cheat every now and then! Treat yourself to a chocolate bar or a soda. You have a much better chance of sticking to a healthy diet if you know that you can cheat once or twice per week. Just do it in moderation.