Diet and Exercise
Most college students do not eat a well-balanced diet or get enough exercise. Only about 4.8 percent of college students eat the five recommended servings of fruit or vegetables daily and only 19.4 percent are exercising regularly. College is a time of learning and developing lifelong habits that will improve your health and well being. There are great educational resources available at choosemyplate.gov, including an easy to use food and activity tracker.
Here are a few quick tips for eating in the dining hall:
- Know what you’re eating! Detroit Mercy's Dining Services has a comprehensive website and provides nutrition information.
- Try to avoid empty liquid calories. Soda and juice provide little to no nutritional value, but can pack on hundreds of extra calories a day. Drink more water or something like unsweetened tea. Diet soda is calorie free, but artificial sweeteners may have other health risks. Make diet soda an occasional treat.
- Make half of your plate fruit and vegetables. The more naturally colorful your plate is, the more nutrition you are getting. Fruits and vegetables will also fill you up longer. Packed with nutrition and fiber, you won’t be hungry again as fast when you eat fruits and veggies.
- Watch out for heavy sauces in the dining hall. Many sauces and condiments are loaded with calories and fat. Watch out for foods with a lot of cream and oil. Things like mayonnaise and ranch dressing can add a lot of fat to an otherwise healthy meal. Toppings like BBQ sauce have a lot of sugar. Use these sparingly and see if there are healthier alternatives like fat free raspberry vinaigrette or fat free roasted onion ranch dressing.
- Save dessert for a weekly treat or opt for a piece of fruit or yogurt instead.
Exercise is very important for your current and future health. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and give you strong muscles. But, did you know that it also has many other benefits like promoting bone strength, helping you sleep well at night, and decreasing your chances of experiencing depression or anxiety?
Exercise can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. It can also reduce your chances of having a stroke. Find exercise that you enjoy. Some people love to run and others may prefer to play a sport like basketball or tennis. Even dancing is great exercise. Find what you enjoy and try to do it for 30 minutes at least four times a week.