Diverse diets are best


By Blake Glosson

When it comes to eating on campus, there doesn’t seem to be much diversity in students’ diets.

Unfortunately, many students don’t realize the benefits of deviating from eating routines every once in a while. A diverse diet can improve your nutrition profile, spice up your social life and expand your palate.

As a college student, I know how easy it is to be a creature of habit. My brain gets so congested from schoolwork that it almost seems dangerous to try to process more information, such as deciding what to eat. But, if you don’t have a well-rounded diet schedule, you could easily become deficient in important nutrients.

“One of the key guidelines is variety because we know that no single food has all the nutrients,” said Martha O’Gorman, registered dietitian and coordinator of nutrition programming at the Recreation Center. “As we look at meal patterns where it’s lacking in variety, we know it’s [likely] lacking in nutrients.”

If all you eat is pizza and Doritos every day, you’re starving your body of key vitamins and minerals. This could lead to chronic conditions.

One common nutrient deficiency is magnesium, a mineral found in leafy green plants. Malnutrition in this area has been linked to increased rates of osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. Other nutrients lacking in the typical American diet include calcium, iron and vitamin D.

The more you incorporate different food groups into your diet the less likely you are to shun a nutrient or two.

In addition to the health benefits, eating a variety of foods can enhance your social experience. This is especially true when trying foods from other states and regions.

“When you get certain kinds of foods, it will be culturally distinct to the people of that region,” said Residential Dining Director Richard Fritz. “It gives [students] the ability to take in and be around different kinds of people and have different kinds of conversations.”

A great opportunity for students to try foods from around the United States will be through the Road Trip special dinner events in dining halls next week. Stevenson will offer East Coast foods Monday, New Hall will offer Midwest foods Wednesday and Neptune will offer West Coast foods Thursday. These cuisines will be available from 4 to 7:30 p.m.

“When people go to the dining hall, they just get the same thing every time,” said Amber Rosalez, graduate student coordinator of the special dinners at Neptune. “This is an opportunity for them to say ‘OK, I’ve never tried [this food] before. I’m gonna try it.’”

Having an open-minded approach to unfamiliar foods is an important aspect of eating a variety. This expands your options, keeps things from getting boring and provides the opportunity for you to enjoy a food you never thought you’d like. As is true with all things in life, you’ll never know if you don’t try it.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone with your diet. This will take your food experience to a whole new level.