A wealth of nutrition is a healthy decision

There is an atheltic fueling station in Beeghly Center. Photo by Teziah Howard / Jambar Contributor

By Teziah Howard
Jambar Contributor

For some students in college, it’s difficult to eat enough healthy foods throughout each day. Whether students purchase from on-campus dining services or make their own food, Youngstown State University offers options for students to stay healthy.

Zara Rowlands, a registered dietician, nutritionist and professor of dietetics, said it’s important for students to pay attention to the nutritional value of food.

“They may pick up things that are fast food items, and those are not necessarily the best choices,” Rowlands said. “You have to look at the quality of food. People think getting a salad is healthy, but they’ll pour a bunch of salad dressing on it … That will take away some of the health benefits.”

Kilcawley Center is home to many of campus’s dining locations, such as Jamba Juice, Chick-Fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts and more. While many are fast food restaurants, Rowlands said YSU offers enough variety for students to eat healthy.

“There is so much more variety on campus now for students,” Rowlands said. “I noticed that Choolaah — which is an Indian restaurant — now has an area in Kilcawley.”

Students can look out for healthier menu items at these restaurants to eat healthy while enjoying the convenience of fast food.

For example, Chick-Fil-A’s menu offers grilled chicken items that can substitute fried chicken. The grilled chicken sandwich provides a larger serving size and packs more fiber than its fried counterpart.

Fries are a well-known side to assist fast food entrees. Chick-Fil-A’s fruit cups can replace fries, as both sides are 125g serving sizes. Fruit cups offer sources of vitamin C and vitamin K, which are beneficial for bone health and the immune system.

Rowlands said for students who are always on the go, fruit serves multiple nutritional purposes.

“There are some fruits that require more prep, but there are lots of vitamins, minerals and fluids from fruit,” Rowlands said. “It is the ideal ‘fast food,’ but it’s not fast food.”

Food restores vital organs and boosts energy systems, but it is not the only imperative factor to nutrition. Rowlands said it’s important to drink lots of water.

“Another thing to worry about is keeping hydrated — not just going for things like coffees, teas and energy drinks,” Rowlands said. “Even soda can be dehydrating with all the caffeine and sugar.”

When observing the eating habits of her nutrition students, Rowlands said she noticed they often add in a simple and effective snack.

“They pack things, they pack fruit. Fruit is a transportable, high-nutrient, low-calorie food,” Rowlands said. “If you want something that is quick, a fruit is perfect.”

For those with tight schedules who want to make their own food, Rowlands suggests preparing meals to accommodate.

“One thing I would advise is if you know your schedule is very tight, maybe think about meal prepping and bringing healthy foods that will nourish your body while you’re running around on campus,” Rowlands said.

Leave a Reply