While most of us grab fast food before heading to a class to avoid the ever embarrassing stomach growl in a quiet lecture setting, we don’t stop to think whether our meal is doing any good for our bodies. But how are we expected to decipher the healthy from the unhealthy options when we have so many other school related woes on our plates?
To solve all this good vs. bad food ordeal, I spoke with Julie Rhule, a Registered Dietitian on campus and asked her what her best recommendations for healthy food options are.
“Fruits and vegetables are not only a great source of vitamins and minerals, but fiber as well. Whole grains are a great source of fiber and carbohydrate, lean protein such as beans, chicken, turkey and fish maintain muscle in our body, healthy fats omega-3s and water for proper hydration,” Rhule says.
We all like to believe that we eat healthy by devouring an apple from time to time. But that whole “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” thing might just be true if we apply it to all types of healthy options – veggies included.
Unsure of what foods to avoid or, at the very least, keep in moderation? Rhule gives us some simple dietary no-nos.
“Sugar, fried foods, bad fats, soda, red meat in excess, fast foods, foods containing a lot of preservatives and highly processed [are bad for you]. Sometimes for certain individual’s, dairy can fall in this mix,” Rhule says.
Giving up that seasonal pumpkin cupcake might seem like a total buzz kill, but, perk up people, this is insightful material worth noting. We’re not saying that you can never indulge, but rather that it’s important to keep a tab of how many sweet treats you’re taking in a week.
One of my burning questions was whether the multiple diet books are really helpful. Do we follow them or bury them under our bed with those other useless text books? Specifically, I queried Rhule about Eat This, Not That, The No Diet Weight Loss Solution.
“I actually have one of the ‘Eat This, Not That’ books. I think anytime you buy a book you need to take it with a grain of salt,” Rhule explains. “See what may or may not apply to your life. There might be a great take home message. There is no one-fix solution to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
So before you start treating diet books like the ten commandments, consider picking and choosing what changes may benefit you the most.
“We are all unique in our requirements. What works for one might not work for another. Being realistic, I find is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Books like ‘Eat This, Not That’ I think are great because it begins the dialogue of hidden sources of calories and being conscious of what we are eating, portion sizes, and ways to lighten our meals up,” Rhule says.
Here you have it ladies and gentlemen, advice from an expert who deals with menu planning head on. I leave you with one more piece of advice from Rhule. “If you eat more calories than your body needs, you will gain weight whether or not a food is healthy or not for your body,” Rhule says.
So maybe tomorrow instead of grabbing the greasy breakfast sandwich on the fly, you’ll consider swapping the calorie bomb for a whole wheat bagel with reduced fat cream cheese. And most likely, you’ll reap major benefits if you make it a habit. Dig in.