Eating well means different things to different people, but it’s another area that is central to wellness. Not only what you eat, but when, how, where and with whom you eat all affect your wellness. Patrice Barber, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, is on staff to see students who have serious concerns or need one-on-one help with their eating plan, but she has some words of wisdom to help everyone make wellness a part of food choices.
The number one strategy Barber advocates: eat mindfully. “Try thinking of mealtime as a mini spa visit,” Barber suggests. “Before you eat, sit quietly for a moment, take a couple of deep breaths, relax and connect with your body.” Pay attention to how your body responds as you eat.
Second, Barber recommends that everyone try to balance the nutrients in each meal. Food provides your body with time-released energy. Carbohydrates are easily digested and provide immediate energy, for about an hour. Fat and protein are digested more slowly, so they kick in when the carb fuel runs out, keeping you energized, satisfied and focused for another couple of hours.
Her third recommendation might seem simple, but many of us struggle with it: eat regularly throughout the day. “So many students only eat once, maybe twice a day. They really don’t get what they need to be energized and focused throughout the day.”
ChooseMyPlate.gov contains a wealth of resources based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and provides practical information to help build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information.
For tips on making solid choices at the dining hall, when stocking the mini-fridge, or eating on a budget, visit choosemyplate.gov/college-resources