General Nutrition

The body requires a large array of nutrients to function at its best and there is no food or food group that will supply everything the body needs. Try to include foods from all of the food groups in your diet every day.

Make it wholesome.

Choose foods that are close to natural form most of the time. These foods tend to have better nutrition value than the processed versions and usually have less added sugar, fat and sodium.

With carbs and fats, it’s the quality that counts!!

  • Carbohydrates serve as fuel for your brain and muscles. They help keep your blood sugar in a range that makes it possible to focus in class, on homework, on the ball field or at the gym. Try to select good quality carbohydrate most of the time. Some great choices include: whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, and crackers, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Fats are important to include in your diet. They allow us to absorb “fat soluble” vitamins, are needed to produce hormones and serve a role in anti-oxidation processes. Fats from nuts and nut butters, seeds, olive oil, vegetable and seed oils, salad dressing, avocado and fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are excellent sources of “healthy fats”.

Enjoy a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.

Fruits and vegetables contain colorful pigments that not only make your spinach green, berries blue and sweet potato orange, they also help to reduce risk of chronic disease, promote good eyesight, prevent cancer, and function as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.  Add colorful foods to your meals and keep a few on hand in your room for snacking in between meals.

Variety is the spice of life.

Incorporating a variety of healthy foods into your diet will promote good nutrition and “keep things interesting”. There is no food that will provide everything the body needs.  Check out all that Commons has to offer. Enjoying a variety of foods helps people avoid getting into “food ruts” and for some, promotes a healthy relationship with food.

Think your drink.

Drink plenty of water. Aiming for 6 to 8 glasses per day, more if you exercise, is good goal. Other healthy beverage choices include lowfat milk or soy milk and orange juice. Be aware that most beverages other than water will count towards your daily calorie intake, so portion control may be something to consider. Also, try to limit excessive amounts of artificial sweeteners. Most flavored beverages that are low in calories, contain an artificial sweetener of some kind.

Distribute your intake throughout the day.

Spreading your food intake out helps to promote a good energy level and a healthy metabolism. Enjoy breakfast, even if it is a quick packet of oatmeal in your room. The food you eat prior to that early AM class will provide some fuel to help you focus. Avoid skipping meals. This habit can result in a poor energy level or extreme levels of hunger, which might lead to poor food choices and/or portion sizes that are larger than what you might normally eat. Keeping fresh or dried fruit , nuts, or a few healthy granola bars in your backpack may help satisfy hunger on those days when it is difficult to make it to Commons for a meal.

Eat intuitively.

Eating intuitively involves fueling yourself when you are hungry and stopping food consumption when you are comfortably full. Try to recognize the signals that your body sends when it needs fuel or is satisfied.  At times, these signals can be difficult to identify, especially in a fast paced culture and noisy environment where food is plentiful.

Enjoy movement in a variety of forms.

Physical activity helps strengthen our heart and lungs and helps us maintain a healthy body weight. Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain an exercise routine that is repetitive and has become boring. Experiment with a wide variety of activities. Bates has plenty to offer. Check out the B-Well page of the Bates website for a calendar that includes a variety of dance classes, yoga, swimming, skating, snow shoeing, racket sports and intramurals.

Practice a variety of strategies to manage stress.

It is not unusual to experience some extra stress as you transition into college life. Some students find that the stress has an influence on eating habits.  Adequate rest, a healthy diet and regular physical activity are all helpful strategies in stress management. If you find that the stress is difficult to manage, consider meeting with one of the counselors here at the Health Center. They can assist you in developing strategies that work for you.

Eat Well and be Healthy

                                                                                                                  Judy Donnelly, RD., LD.

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Additional nutrition and fitness resources