Man ist, was man isst: tips for healthy nutrition, editorial by Tanja Staben

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A balanced meal. Photo by Tanja Staben.

A balanced meal. Photo by Tanja Staben.

 

Nowadays, America is especially defined by its diet: a lot of processed food, sodas, fast food, and limited cooking.

American culture does not have time for cooking or worrying about diets, even though it should. There is a reason
why many Americans are struggling with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

The key is healthy nutrition.

Nutrition is the science, or practice, of consuming and utilizing food. It is important because organisms and cells require food to stay alive, and it can prevent diseases and raise energy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and of Health and Human Services recommends to follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan by focusing on the variety, nutrient density, and amount of food; limiting calories from added sugars and saturated fats; reducing sodium intake; shifting to healthier food and beverage choices; and supporting healthy eating patterns overall.

American culture knows about the importance of and how to eat healthy, like a female freshman from RMC who recommended “a balance of protein, carbs, and fats and eating food in moderation and proportion.”

Even though she knows about healthy nutrition, she has to “try really hard” to do it. It is especially difficult “as a college student because not all the cafeteria options are the greatest, and it is hard to cook in a dorm room with limited availability,” said the student.

A male RMC junior who said he eats healthy does not think that healthy nutrition is hard. Nevertheless, he knows about the general nutrition problem and “believe[s] that healthy food needs to be cheaper and garbage food [unhealthy food] should be more expensive.”

Both students related similar concerns about the lack of available healthy alternatives. The problem is that students have more access to cheap, unhealthy food than healthy food. In addition, the options for healthful food are not as expansive as the range of unhealthy choices.

Students can solve this problem by making smaller and more wholesome decisions. For example, choosing water or milk instead of soda and a smaller plate rather than a bigger one.

In addition, they can fill half of their plates with vegetables, one quarter with meat or fish, one quarter with potatoes, rice, or pasta, and include a salad to their meal.

This causes students to digest less sugar from sodas and provides a balanced diet of carbs, proteins, and fats. This allows for smaller meals, but nevertheless leaves students with a satisfied feeling of fullness.

These little steps are manageable for students, and can substantially improve their overall health.

While they keep eating healthy, they will learn that adequate nutrition enables one to experience a better quality of life.

Experts have not only seen better performances in sports, but also better performances in class due to the key of a good lifestyle: healthy nutrition.

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