Freshman health facts

Sep 282005
Authors: Danielle Yuthas

In an effort to dispel the notorious freshman 15 theory, CSU dieticians are taking strides to prove that, yes, eating healthy in the residence halls is possible, and students can juggle nutrition and manage weight even though they are away from home-cooking.

Write down what you have eaten in a typical day and compare it to the recommended servings on the food pyramid, suggests Dawn Clifford, a registered dietician at Hartshorn Health Center. The food pyramid outlines a daily eating pattern of six ounces of grains, two cups of vegetables, two cups of fruits, three cups of milk and five ounces of meat and beans.

Additionally, discretionary calories for items such as dessert or soda should be limited to 265 calories per day.

Clifford's key approach is to pay attention to stomach fullness. She stresses that eating when hungry is very important in order to not become so ravenous before the next meal, in which you might overeat. Also, Clifford said, do not eat when not hungry because it only adds unnecessary calories.

Clifford also suggested allowing 20 minutes or so for food to settle before deciding on a second helping. Often times, people eat because food is there or out of boredom, but food will always be there, she states.

Clifford pointed out using mouthwash, toothpaste or sucking on a hard candy as alternatives to getting flavor to the palate without excess calories.


"It is important to feel good about responding to your body's craving," said Clifford.

In order to do this, it is important to determine how much it takes for cravings to be satisfied. A craving for chocolate, for example, can be cured by one cookie or even a glass of chocolate milk, she suggests.

Eating in the same residence hall day after day may cause a desire for variety. Clifford said that going to another residence hall can add new options and offer the exercise of walking there.

Lory Student Center offers even more places to dine. Since we have a "natural taste toward foods high in fat," Clifford suggests considering how the foods are prepared and trying to avoid fried food.

It is best to include three food groups in each meal and aim for the 500 to 600 calorie range. While it may be difficult to determine the calorie amount for fast food, caloric counts are offered on many restaurants' Web site.

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