Fruits, fresh vegetables make healthier diet for students

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Food service supervisor Maria Rodriguez prepares the salad bar for the lunch crowd Wednesday in the cafeteria at Loftin. The salad bar provides a fresh alternative for students and employees interested in eating healthy. Salads start at $3.99 for a small and $5.99 for a large.  Kirsten Simpson

Food service supervisor Maria Rodriguez prepares the salad bar for the lunch crowd Wednesday in the cafeteria at Loftin. The salad bar provides a fresh alternative for students and employees interested in eating healthy. Salads start at $3.99 for a small and $5.99 for a large. Kirsten Simpson

Dietician recommends choosing water over sugary soft drinks.

By Cassandra M. Rodriguez

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your diet is the quickest way to improve nutrition for busy college students, a registered dietician recommends.

A healthy diet starts with incorporating fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks, biology Professor Ellen Brennan said Monday in an interview.

Busy students can bring prepared snacks to campus.

Brennan suggests trying apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, carrots, peppers, and some crackers for healthy on-the-go snacks.

“It is best to eat every several hours, but it doesn’t have to be a full meal,” she said. “A person will meet their nutrient needs better by eating several times a day to get necessary vitamins, minerals, and proteins.”

Students should start the day with a good breakfast and drink water to stay hydrated, she said.

A simple breakfast is a bowl of cereal with reduced fat milk and fruit.

She recommended that to feel better and more alert, students should pay attention to getting enough sleep and to the quality of the diet.

Students need to think about what they are actually eating and what they could substitute and getting adequate exercise, she said.

Rushing students who may have skipped meals may turn to vending machines and fast food for an easy meal, which is not usually a healthy option.

If a vending machine is the only choice, healthier options may include crackers, pretzels and baked chips. Water is a healthier choice over sugary soft drinks.

At fast food restaurants, choose a single burger over a double or bacon burger, she advised. Some offer fruits for sides and are a good incorporation into the meal.

“I eat Nature Valley snacks to hold me over until my next meal,” said Victor Valencia, sophomore studying to be a paramedic.

Brennan recommends a person needs to be aware of their daily diet because of the impact it will have on their health.

“It is their present and their future. If they don’t take care of themselves they won’t be able to perform as they could. And they won’t be in very good shape for long,” said Brennan.

A good resource for healthy meal options and eating tips is www.choosemyplate.gov.

For more nutrition information, call Brennan at 210-486-0861 or visit her in Room 345 of Chance Academic Center.

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