KSU dietitians weigh in on college nutrition


KENNESAW, Ga. — College students face many temptations that lead their good habits astray, particularly when it comes to nutrition and exercise.

It’s convenient for students to grab a Chick-fil-A sandwich between classes rather than a well-balanced meal. Most colleges often have food buffet cafeterias that offer a wide variety of options.

According to a study by researchers at Oregon State University, college students are not eating one serving of fruits and vegetables per day — much less the recommended five servings.

It’s no surprise college students tend to struggle to make good nutritional choices and uphold their healthy balanced routines. Between classes and balancing work, adapting to the newness of freedom and new surroundings, the increase of alcohol consumption, or being exposed to alcohol for the first time, it’s easy to slip off the health bandwagon and hard to jump back on.

Kennesaw State University dietician Barbara Oldham, who graduated from the University of Georgia, commented on “The Freshmen 15.”

“Not all freshmen gain 15 pounds,” she said. “A lot of the time, its when they come to campus, and they have more freedom with food — especially when you have a dining hall that’s as good as the Commons.”

Oldham said some freshmen don’t usually gain weight. Instead, they actually tend to lose weight or become healthier.

With a gym like the Student Recreation and Activities Center at KSU, students gravitate toward the gym more and actually become healthier, she said.

Rather than telling students to avoid a certain food group, Oldham encourages eating anything in moderation. Choosing the unhealthier versions of food is sometimes OK, but Oldham urges students to choose healthier options more often than unhealthier options.

“I encourage students to eat a variety of foods: That will include pizza and Chick-fil-A,” she said. “That’s OK. However, try to avoid the monotony of always getting pizza for lunch — add in a salad.”

It is important to refrain from nutrition misinformation and fad diets, KSU dietitian Bethany Wheeler said.

Bethany Wheeler (Submitted photo)

“Fad Diets — such as paleo, low carbs, etc. — are not sustainable and healthy,” she said. “The most important thing is to do a lifestyle change.”

The restriction from a certain food group for a long period of time does the body more harm than good, Oldham said.

“Normally, people who experience restrictive diets and add the food back into their diet actually gain their weight back, plus some,” Oldham said.

Allowing yourself to have a balanced intake allows you to have a healthier outlook on food and to enjoy your college years.


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