Healthy eating encouraged

By Bridget Maiellaro

For the past few months, several student organizations and courses have made efforts to promote health and good nutrition habits around the campus community. This year’s events are designed to urge students to eat a better variety of food, including those who live in the dorms.

“Balance, variety and moderation are the keys to successful eating and physical activity,” said Lisa Burgoon, SportWell coordinator and sports nutritionist.

One major concern among students that live in the dorms is the quality of foods, said Matt Starr, sophomore in Engineering and resident of Bromley Hall.

“It has a wide variety of foods, but it’s not prepared very well,” Starr said. “It seems very processed.”

Bromley Hall has their food delivered by Tice Food Service Corporation. Most of these processed foods and are high in sodium. For instance, a cup of chicken noodle soup contains 980 mg of sodium and 4 ounces of turkey contains 922.7 mg. The suggested daily amount of sodium is 2,750 mg.

Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of housing for networking, said that a nutritionist supervises food preparation, in an attempt to watch the sodium content.

“We prepare foods with a close eye,” she said. “Some foods just have higher sodium than others.”

Even though dorm food might be high in sodium, Justine Karduck, nutrition education coordinator, feels that students can still find ways to balance their diet and stay healthy.

“Sodium is definitely a concern, especially in processed foods,” she said. “As long as students eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, which help lower sodium, and watch their portion sizes, they should be OK.”

Burgoon also feels that students can maintain a healthy diet by eating dorm foods.

“Eating a balanced diet is key,” she said. “You can have foods that have a significant amount of sodium or fat, but be sure to balance it out.”

Starr, who tries to vary his diet, believes the underlying problem is that the healthier items in dorms never vary.

“The items at the salad bar never change and can become boring,” he said. “The stuff that changes is a lot more unhealthy.”

Ruby said that student-housing facilities have been attempting to alter items at the salad bar during the past year by asking students’ opinions.

“Some people want the same items, but other want things to change,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot more variety at the salad bar this year than I have over the past couple of years.”

Even without the healthy foods changing, students can balance their diets by limiting their portion sizes of highly processed foods, eating some fruits and vegetables that have high potassium and magnesium, and drinking more fluids if needed, Karduck said.

“Students need the combination of physical activity and eating better to help them be healthier, have more energy and stay awake in classes,” Burgoon said.