A conversation with Amy Melichar, the coordinator of Marquette University’s Center for Health Education and Promotion, led to one conclusion: it is possible to eat healthy with your meal plans.
All dining halls always have unhealthy choices like pizza and fried food, but they do offer healthier choices, Melichar said.
“Students get caught in, ‘You can’t eat well in dining halls,’” she said. “Options are there. You have to look for them. You have to choose wisely.”
According to Melichar, there is no universal standard for correct food portions. That depends on an individual’s metabolism, or rate the body creates energy. There is, however, a simple way to eat purposeful, balanced meals in portions of moderation.
This means that you should be eating an even balance of carbohydrates, lean proteins, vitamins and minerals each day. Melichar said that many students deprive themselves of these essential foods and instead indulge on soda, candy bars, fast food and caffeinated beverages like coffee and energy drinks, along with caffeine pills like No Doz.
One espresso or energy drink has three or four times the amount of caffeine needed in a day, she said.
Many students consume mass amounts of caffeine to stay awake all night in order to study for tests and complete last-minute papers. This unnatural stimulus is counterproductive to the body’s natural functions that systematically shut off the brain after a certain point, Melichar said.
Instead of shocking the body with mass energy stimuli that inevitably lead to a crash, or drop in blood sugar, she suggested carrying around healthy snacks wherever you go. These can include whole-wheat crackers, granola, nuts, peanut butter, apple slices or carrot sticks.
Melichar said one of the worst decisions students make is skipping breakfast, the most important meal of the day. It wakes up the body and brain and allows your intellectual juices to flow.
Even after eating breakfast, remember to carry around healthy snacks to your classes in case you need a pick-me-up. Not to say that you cannot eat junk food or that indulging in chocolate or a Starbucks frappuccino every once in a while will drive you off course.
Melichar said: “No food is bad. It’s just making those good choices.” Eating balanced portions of different food groups, whether they are organic or deep-fried, is OK.
Need more tips? Go to the Center for Healthy Education and Promotion (www.marquette.edu/healthed) located in suite 130 of the 707 Building or call Student Health Service at (414) 288-7184 to make an appointment with a dietician.
Snacking Essentials for the Dorm Room *Source of Protein
marinated Brussels sprouts
by Melanie Pawlyszyn
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