Healthy Eating for the College Student

The latest health article posted on Huff Post College draws information from GatorWell Health Promotion Specialist Shannon Kirkpatrick of the University of Florida.

Kirkpatrick recommends the “plate method” (you can download the pdf here for reference) for college students to maintain healthy eating habits. The Huff Post article states, “The (latest USDA) guidelines emphasize eating less, increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, switching to low-fat or fat-free milk, avoiding high-sodium meals and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.”

However, when you’re a college student, meal planning takes second fiddle to studying (or at least every parent would hope…) There is a great little interview piece from freshman Gator, Pam Carey. To read the full article, click here.

College Students Eating Habits
Which food would your college student choose?

A snippet of information I felt keenly drawn to: In the article Kirkpatrick makes this observation,

Healthy habits are cumulative; if you form the habits early on, you are more likely to continue them throughout your life… The younger we are, the easier it is to form and change these habits. It’s a great time to try new things and figure out what works well for you.

Moral of the story, health begins at home and it begins at birth. It is never too late to start teaching fitness and nutrition to our children. Whether you have college students, grade school students, or babies, you can start RIGHT NOW to educate them on what is healthy and good for them.

Please consult your physician before adopting any special diets, but for more information on the “MyPlate” program vs. the Pyramid most of us grew up with, click here.

2 Responses to Healthy Eating for the College Student

  1. I actually really hate that updated plate because… WHERE IS THE FAT? You need healthy fat to survive and it’s just nowhere in sight! Plus, it says nothing about exercise either. Also, WHERE is how much water you’re suppose to drink each day? I see milk/dairy, which really shouldn’t be drunk all that much… but no water! I understand that the USDA wants you to head on over to their web site to get the full rundown on what you should do to eat healthfully, but people just don’t have time.

    • Great observation, GiGi! Fat is, as you said, necessary for our bodies and can be found in many different types of foods. I don’t think the USDA is trying to sabotage the American public by removing the Fat category from the plate. I think they finally realized that there are enough Fats in the other food groups to provide us with our required intake.

      But I did some research and found a really in depth article on the Mayo Clinic’s website regarding Fat. You can click here to read the whole thing.

      Here is what the Mayo Clinic article said about very low-fat diets:

      If watching fat content is a good strategy, is it even better to try to eliminate all fat from your diet? Not necessarily. First, your body needs some fat — the healthy fats — to function normally. If you try to avoid all fat, you risk getting insufficient amounts of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Also, in attempting to remove fat from your diet, you may wind up eating too many processed foods touted as low-fat or fat-free rather than healthier and naturally lower fat foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Instead of doing away with fat in your diet, enjoy healthy fats in moderation.

      Now, in regard to your comment about water, remember that water is found in fruits, vegetables and meats. So we get a little bit of water each time we eat. And although the “8 x 8” rule of drinking water is common and popular, it depends upon an individual’s physical activity level, climate, and general health. The best guideline for drinking is to look at your urine. If it is dark yellow or orange you are dehydrated, if it is clear or light yellow, you’re good. I think it is safe to say that if you follow the 8 x 8 method with any liquid, you will be sufficiently hydrated.

      I hope that helps! By the way, FFN is working hard to provide quick, relevant information to people who “just don’t have time.” Please feel free to comment and share us with a friend so we can improve our methods of information delivery!

      – Christina, FFN Founder

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