The importance of eating healthy

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Regardless of caloric intake,our daily consumption of food should consist of three main parts. Dietary intake should be 60 percent complex carbohydrates, 30 percent unsaturated fats and 10 percent lean protein.

Carbohydrates and fats should be 90 percent of daily intake but do not confuse these with simple carbohydrates and saturated fats.

Dr. Margaret Barth, California Baptist University’s program director of Nutrition and Dietetics explained that carbohydrates should come from complex sources rather than simple sources because simple sources are absorbed rapidly into the blood stream resulting in rapid rises in blood sugar, which is often followed by rapid decline.

Examples of simple carbohydrates are white bread, table sugar and ice cream. Just because these foods are simple carbohydrates does not mean they should be put on a “do not eat” list. However,
they should be consumed sparingly.

Complex carbohydrates are higher in fiber and provide the body with more efficient sources of energy as the process of releasing sugar into the blood stream is slowed down. Examples of complex carbohydrates are whole-grains, brown rice, fruits, vegetables and quinoa.

Thirty percent of caloric intake should come from fats and lipid sources that are compiled of unsaturated fats, which are liquid and fluid at room temperature. Examples of unsaturated fats are olives, olive oil and avocados.

Lastly, 10 percent of caloric intake should be from proteins that are lean. Examples of lean protein sources are fish, beans, dairy products, nuts and lean meat. Barth said, it’s been proposed that eating four to five smaller meals or snacks rather than three large meals a day helps prolong alertness and supports cognitive function providing students with ample amounts of energy for classes and studying during the evening.

Along with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, a person’s body also needs the 13 essential vitamins, the 15 essential minerals and 11-15 cups of water everyday.

College students are no strangers to late-night cramming and all-nighters. These activities can be looked upon as opportunities for junk-food runs and caffeine and sugar-filled energy drinks.

Barth recommends granola bars that are low-calorie but high in fiber for snacking, as fiber tends to pull water to itself as it travels through the digestive tract, resulting in a sense of fullness and satiety.

“There are cookies with no fiber, you could eat like 10 of them because they go down so easily,” Barth said. “But you’ve got a granola bar, and you have to take one bite at a time, chew, chew, chew, swallow and then you also have that element of greater opportunity for earlier satiety eating a higher fiber item than not.”

Along with low-calorie granola bars, fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese, whole-grain popcorn and rice cakes with light peanut butter are examples of healthy, late-night snacks.

California Baptist University provides plenty of opportunities for students to eat on campus, such as the Alumni Dining Commons, Wanda’s Café and Brisco’s Village Café. With such a widespread variety, students should not take the healthy options for granted. There are several different stations in the ADC to choose from, along with a salad bar and fresh fruits station.

Barth said she tends to avoid the fried food in the ADC, not because she does not enjoy a hamburger occasionally, but rather because the fresh fruits station and salad bars have a plethora of healthy items that are already re-sliced and chopped.

“My main focus is the salad bar for the fruits and vegetables. And sometimes they even have the opportunity for some protein too. I’ll add maybe a little bit of sprinkled cheese or cottage cheese,” Barth said.

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