oct. 13, 2014

Audrey Jensen
[email protected]

Eating healthy should not be as big a struggle as it seems for college students.

College students feel forced into un-healthy eating habits because they cannot afford the best quality of food or do not have time to cook a decent meal.

With a busy schedule of work, classes, studying and somewhat of a social life it is more convenient to get grab-n-go.

“I remember as a college student eating ramen and green beans,” Michelle Toro-Dietz, assistant director of student loans, said. “I think I could have done better by budgeting my money by thinking about it ahead of time.”

Fast food may be bad for you, but it is quick and it tastes good. But eating junk food on a regular basis will only push you further away from health.

The first step towards eating healthy is being aware of what food and drinks you are consuming on a daily basis. If you already eat healthy, I applaud you for being a productive college student, but students can benefit from the next steps towards eating what your body needs.

On Oct. 9, UCCS Peak Nutrition Clinic dietician Julie Anderson spoke about what is necessary to eat and how to go about buying healthy foods on a college budget.

She provided a handout and discussed which food groups she believes are important to have as part of a daily consumption.

Those groups included protein, carbohydrates/ starches, fruits, dairy, satiety sources and non-starchy vegetables.

Anderson mentioned that between these food groups there is a way to balance your diet whether you’re attempting to lose, maintain or gain weight.

“It is important to eat protein if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight,” Anderson said.

“It takes four hours to digest. [Per meal] you should eat protein as big as the size of your palm.”

Anderson explained that the longer protein or fiber-filled food, such as vegetables, take to digest, the longer you have food in your system and stay full. The more protein and fiber consumed the more time it takes to digest.

Vegetarian options for protein are also provided on the handout, which include food items such as tofu, quinoa and starchy beans.

According to Anderson there is a common misconception that it is bad to consume carbohydrates.

“It is not good to eliminate carbs because this is the primary source of fuel for our brains,” Anderson said. “[Without carbohydrates] this is when we go into a room and forget why we are there or when you do not get anything out of studying.”

Examples of proteins Anderson gives out include 100 percent whole grain, steel cut oats, cereal with over three grams of fiber and less than six grams of sugar and starchy beans (kidney, pinto, garbanzo, black and refried beans).

A lot of these items are located in your local grocery stores such as King Soopers, Safeway, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Albertson’s, Costco and Sam’s Club.

If you look for weekly sales, do research and take time to plan ahead. Then, you will have better options for yourself that provide the energy and motivation to make it through your days.

Anderson can provide information for students wondering about nutrition and the financial aid office will continue to provide budget workshops once a month.