I walk into Daly’s, let Ms. Ann swipe my card and immediately catch a glimpse of my two biggest food weaknesses: grilled cheese sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies.
Of course, foods like these are naturally a staple in any college student’s diet. At times it’s necessary to indulge in comfort foods, but we can’t forget about the nutritional needs that our bodies depend on in order to stay strong and thrive.
Eating healthy is not about dieting and losing those last five pounds. It’s about keeping yourself free from illnesses and diseases that can easily be prevented by smart food choices. A fitter physique is just icing on the cake.
Not only does a healthy diet work wonders for your skin and body, but it also helps you to cope with stress more easily and perform better in the classroom as well as on the athletic field.
There are signs displaying the nutritional information for almost all of the food that the dining hall serves. In order to keep us all happy, Michael Burgess, manager of Daly’s Dining Hall, said that they try to keep the food bland and provide spices on the side for those who want to season their food.
Just in case you haven’t noticed, Daly’s now offers a vegan salad bar with a variety of different salsas and toppings that are incredibly heart-healthy.
We all know how easy it is to simply grab a slice of pizza or a cheeseburger and a plate of fries. Burgess and I both agreed that when it comes down to it, a tasty yet healthy meal is simple with a little extra time and effort.
Burgess was happy to share the ingredients for one of his favorite meals, a black bean salad, which he created himself. He combines romaine lettuce, black bean salsa (available at the vegan salad bar) and a little splash of yogurt cinnamon dressing to create a flavorful and effortless meal.
In general, there are several guidelines that all of us can follow to eat healthier. For one, drink water — a lot of it. Water is needed for healthy skin and organs. You’re already dehydrated once you’re thirsty, so carry a bottle of water with you to class and drink it even when you’re not feeling the need to.
Instead of whole milk, french fries, sweetened desserts or refined grains (white bread or rice), try skim milk, baked potatoes, fruit and whole grains (whole wheat pasta and bread).
In order to act upon these ideas, you first have to take the initiative to actually eat. Making time for meals helps to tackle whatever may come your way and leaves you with energy to do more throughout the day. Eating three meals a day — making sure to include breakfast, plus snacks in between — is a great way to keep your metabolism active.
Our perception of what a portion size should be has gotten out of control. Restaurants often serve two or three times the suggested serving size. Likewise, scooping a truck load of tortellini onto your plate makes you eat more as well as waste more. Take smaller portions and go back if you’re still hungry. Don’t worry, the food isn’t going anywhere.
The ideas are simple — choose baked foods over fried foods, low-fat options over regular, water over juice from concentrate or sugary sodas, and foods with natural sugars, like fruit, over artificially sweetened foods such as cookies.
You don’t have to say goodbye to the cheese fries and cookie dough ice cream for good, though. Moderation is the key. As important as it is to keep your body healthy, it is also necessary to treat yourself at times. When it comes to healthy eating, you have to create a balance by providing your body with nutritional needs and also satisfying your personal cravings.
Amanda Sandlin is a sophomore journalism major.