Healthier food serves as alternate way to get healthy and lose weight

As January moves along, students who made New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy may need some advice on how to do so.

“Trust the fact that you won’t go hungry if you eat a fruit or vegetable,” said Rebecca Pobocik, an associate professor in family and consumer sciences.

A fruit or vegetable may not sound filling by itself, Pobocik said, but it can be a healthy start to a meal and cause someone to fill up less on the rest of the meal.

Brenna Smith, president of the Student Nutrition Association, recommends having a fruit or vegetable with every meal.

To some, the cost of fruit and vegetables may be daunting.

“People say healthy is expensive because they think they need to get fresh fruit and vegetables,” said Kelsey Buckley, treasurer of the SNA.

However, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are a good option too, Buckley said.

Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables can be “almost identical” in nutrition as compared to fresh produce, Pobocik said. However, canned fruits and vegetables with lots of added salt or sugar should be avoided, she said.

People should also avoid covering their fruits and vegetables in unhealthy sauces or dressings, Buckley said.

“If you’re going to get vegetables and cover [them] in butter, that’s … defeating the point,” Buckley said.

She recommends spices as a healthier way to add flavor.

Cost is one concern, but Pobocik said that students living on campus may also find eating healthy challenging because they can’t easily cook their own food.

Smith said eating healthy on campus is a matter of making the right choices.

“There are good things you can get in the dining halls and there are bad things,” Smith said.

Some college students may not realize how many calories their weekend activities contain.

“Alcohol has a lot of calories and people often don’t think about that,” Pobocik said.

When you eat calories, your body realizes that and you feel full, Pobocik said, but the same isn’t true for drinking calories.

Non-alcoholic drinks can also be unhealthy choices.

“Personally I’m against soda pop,” Smith said.

Buckley said cutting sugary beverages and sticking to water and milk can be a way to quickly start losing weight.

If students aim to eat healthy in order to lose weight, “they have to make goals they can actually realize,” Smith said.

A series of small goals is more realistic than one big goal, she said.

Buckley said that students looking to eat healthy and exercise should start both at the same time.

“Doing [one] motivates you to do the other,” Buckley said.

It’s important to realize that changes won’t happen overnight, Buckley said.

Buckley and Smith both talked about the importance of variety in a diet.

Smith said students should aim to regularly try new foods.

Having a variety of colors on your plate is a good way to ensure variety within a meal, Buckley said.

“Eat the rainbow, but not the Skittles kind,” Buckley said.