Whole grains, lean proteins, and fruits and vegetables are just a sampling of the types of foods that AVI Dining’s dietician suggested that students eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle, during the Nutrition Table Talk held in Boozel during common hour on Tuesday.
Michelle Apple, who serves as AVI’s dietician, has been working in the field for 15 years advising people on how to make the best choices for their health, including what foods to eat and what type of exercise is most beneficial to maintain a healthy weight. Eating habits that have been established before college play a role in the choices that a student makes when they visit the dining halls on campus.
“Eating habits are established at home,” Apple said. “Students can come here and eat what they want when they might not have had the ability to do that at home with mom watching. Eating habits also depend on what your friends eat.”
If a student is just beginning the journey towards a balanced lifestyle, eliminating processed foods and choosing natural ingredients is a good starting point when becoming mindful of healthy choices. Eating from the ground up and avoiding artificial ingredients is the ideal scenario for anyone trying to develop a good base to their diet, according to Apple.
“I never want to tell students what is a good or bad food,” Apple said. “I suggest that they eat foods that fuel the body like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. If they’re looking to clean up their diet, they should eliminate processed food and fast food.”
According to Apple, eating right isn’t enough to put someone on the track to healthy living. Balancing regular exercise and making smart food choices goes hand-in-hand when it comes to being fit.
“Weight training helps students to tone up and build muscle,” Apple said. “It’s particularly good for women because it helps with osteoporosis. Generally, you need a balance of weight training and cardio.”
Students were also shown examples of how much sugar is in the drinks they most commonly consume, with the lowest amount of sugar being in an eight ounce glass of whole milk, and the most in a 20-ounce fruit drink. The calorie counts for some of the most popular fast food items including McDonald’s Big Mac, which has a total of 550 calories in one serving, were also displayed to make students aware of the choices they make when buying fast food.
According to calorieking.com, 153 minutes of a moderate activity like walking, and 63 minutes of vigorous activity such as jogging, would need to be completed in order to burn the amount of calories in a Big Mac.
Senior public health major Shafawn Sherer, 22, participated in the Nutrition Table Talk with Apple as part of the requirements of her internship. Sherer put together a game for students to play to test their knowledge of health related trivia, and supplied brochures to educate students on topics like what the appropriate serving sizes men and women should have each day, all aligned with the her theme, “It’s A Balance Act.”
“I put together the game board and tri-fold to try to get students to understand that to get to a healthy weight, you need a balance of eating healthy and exercise,” Sherer said.
Nutrition has always been a topic of interest for Sherer, who wanted to educate her fellow students on the right way to become healthy. She set up the activities and information for students as part of her graduation requirement, but should her project receive approval from the Health Center, it can be implemented into their programs.
“All of my learning in the program has led up to this,” Sherer said. “The Health Center can choose to use my project, and the H.O.P.E. Peer Educators can then teach it to FYRST Seminar classes.”
At the Nutrition Table Talk, students were offered information from both Apple and Sherer on how to make choices to get on the track to living healthy. For more information on how to better their health, students can see Apple again at the Health Fair located in the Aebersold Recreation Center (ARC) on Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.