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4 Healthy Choices to Make in Residence Dining

Did you know March is Nutrition Month?

For over 30 years, Nutrition Month has been celebrated in Canada, and there’s no exception in Western residences! We love taking advantage of this opportunity to raise awareness about nutrition, taking care of yourself, celebrating something we all enjoy—food.

This year’s Nutrition Month campaign aims to unlock the potential of food; the potential to prevent, the potential to fuel, the potential to heal and the potential to bring us together.

Let’s take a look at how you can unlock the potential of food right in your Residence Dining Hall.

The potential to prevent:

Lifestyle factors (including eating) can influence our health. A nutritious diet can help prevent illness and can lower the risk of chronic diseases. The best eating pattern is one that you enjoy and can stick with. The eating patterns that have been the most researched for their health benefits include the Mediterranean Diet, DASH and the MIND diet.

Here are some foods that are common to each of these eating patterns:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes (peas and beans)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Fish, seafood and poultry
  • Healthy oils like canola and olive

These nourishing foods are the basic ingredients that form the diet for disease prevention.

When you’re building your plate in your dining hall, take a look around at all of your options. Avoid taking the first thing you see. Instead, mindfully build a plate that includes a variety of healthy foods.

The potential to fuel:

Stay energized on and off-campus by planning nutritious snacks for your day. In the right portion size, nutritious snacks can be part of a healthy eating plan. Here are some helpful snacking tips:

  • Plan ahead. Keep a variety of healthy, ready-to-eat snacks on hand—whether it’s a mini fridge in residence stocked with yogurt or a bag of almonds to take on the go. This will help you resist those less-healthy cravings when you get hungry.
  • Be aware of portion sizes. Moderation is key when consuming higher calorie snacks.
  • Listen to your hunger cues. Ask yourself if you’re eating because you’re bored, tired or stressed. One easy way to resist boredom eating is to drink some water instead of grabbing a snack.
  • Recognize mindless eating. Avoid munching while looking at a screen, driving or working. Mindless eating often results in over-consuming food. Eat intentionally, without distractions.
  • Snack on vegetables. About half of all Canadians don’t eat enough vegetable and fruits. Look to the Canada food guide for inspiration and make half your plate vegetables and fruits. Choosing options from Fresh and the salad bar in your residence will definitely help with this!

The potential to heal:

Healthy foods contain the nutrients we need to stay strong and energized, prevent disease, treat conditions and keep immune systems healthy. Understand the potential of food to enhance your life and improve your health—if you make the right choices with what you’re eating.

Eat a variety of healthy food each day, including plenty of vegetables and fruit, protein rich and whole grain foods. Limit foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat. This will help you prevent illness and fatigue especially during high-stress times like exams.

The potential to bring us together

From a quick group breakfast before class to a celebratory dinner after exams, it’s an enriching experience for share meals together. Why dine with friends and family?

  • Students who share meals together get better grades.
  • Adults who eat with friends/family tend to eat more vegetables and fruit, drink less pop and eat fewer fast food meals.
  • Food brings people together in celebration. Enjoy your food and, when you can, cook and eat meals with others.
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Last Modified on March 13, 2019 9:24 AM, by [DR]