Many students are all too familiar with the term “Freshman 15” and no wonder: coping with the fast pace of university is hard. Who has time to think about a healthy diet when you’ve got five mid-terms, three term papers and a partridge in a pear tree to worry about? Luckily two nutritional experts have given their advice on how to maintain your health.
1. Change your mindset: many students have a goal in mind when they set out to lose weight─they want to go down a size or lose 10 pounds. This is not a productive way of thinking. Ashley Durdle, certified nutritionist and Simply for Life consultant says, “My definition of a healthy diet is waking up in the morning, feeling good about your body, having energy and going to sleep feeling accomplished.” Students feel disappointed when they fail to achieve these specific goals and it is very counterproductive. “We are all on a journey together so don’t beat yourself up,” says Durdle, “just take baby steps and know that no matter how healthy you are, there is always something you can do to improve your health: it’s a lifestyle.”
2. Pre-plan and pay attention: students tend to grab whatever food is available and this is just a bi-product of a speedy lifestyle, however, there are ways to counter the negative effects it can have on your health. Make healthy food convenient. “Make big batches of things, portion them out and grab and go,” says Durdle. Pre-planning is a good method to help you to stay away from grabbing an unhealthy snack due to lack of a better alternative.
You also have to pay attention to what you are eating. Doctor of medical Heilkunst (DMH), Jeff Kroentayer says, “The fresher the better.” Kroentayer explains the concept of food packaging and not in the traditional sense, “Our bodies are looking for condensed nutrition. A highly packaged food is a food with a lot of ‘packaging’ but is low in nutrients.” A perfect example of a low packaged, high nutrient food would be fresh produce, such as an apple. Also, getting enough protein is equally important.
Tips to sneak in protein include: 1) canned saltwater fish like salmon and kippers are great ways to get protein and omega 3, and they come pre-portioned, 2) use dips with vegetables like hummus, and 3) little baggies of nuts are super portable and great for afternoon snacking.
3. Knowledge is power: Your health is a very personal thing and what may be healthy for one person might not be for another. Both experts agree that there is no blanket diet that works for everyone, “We are living with a lot of misinformation,” says Kroentayer, “and the best way to debunk this misinformation is to see a consultant.” There are many nutritionists and nutritional and holistic health clinics in Saint John. Going in and educating yourself about your specific needs may be the key to lasting health. “Everyone’s nutritional education starts in different places; it’s like school, some people are in high school while some are still in kindergarten,” says Kroentayer. So get out there and find out what will work best for you.