Healthy food provides energy, attention


Northern Star File Photo

Former Northern Star Sophomore accounting major Goran Ikanovic picks up an apple in the Stevenson dining hall. Stevenson’s dinning center has a variety of healthy food choices for students to choose from.

By Erin Kolb

Students can find many options to eat healthy on campus.

The nutrition and wellness service offered by the Campus Recreation Center can help students determine general needs like food, weight loss, weight gain, diabetes education and sports nutrition. Students have access to an initial consultation and a follow-up appointment for free. After that, sessions are $10.

NIU dietetic intern Katherine Wenzel said it is important for students to eat healthy because they can get the energy they need during the day and their classes. Wenzel said students can start the day off right by eating a balanced breakfast.

A common reason students do not eat breakfast is because they don’t have time, she said.

“There are ways to overcome not having time,” Wenzel said. “Grab something quick like toast with peanut butter or a granola bar.”

Dietetic intern Allison Douglas said one way she tries to eat well is by planning meals and packing lunch ahead of time.

“I plan for particularly busy weeks so I know when I can eat or if I should plan something before,” Douglas said. “I try to shop and buy little quantities of food each week so I always have fresh food.”

More fiber from fruits and vegetables is important, and students should eat less processed and over-refined breads, said Judith Lukaszuk, associate professor of family, consumer and nutrition sciences. Lukaszuk recommended an intake of unsaturated fats, saturated fats and polyunsaturated oils.

“Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil or canola oil would be the best choice,” she said.

Douglas also said eating in the dorms can be intimidating. Fried foods like pizza, burgers and fries are in demand. “They have healthy options, but students have to search for them and may not have time to if they are in a hurry,” Douglas said.

Michelle Choda, sophomore political science major, said food like turkey burgers, condensed soups, granola and oatmeal were healthy things that she chose to eat in the dorms. Choda said she drinks water and green tea instead of soda and juices because they pack a lot of calories.

“I pretty much lived at the salad bar,” she said.

Douglas said college students should start healthy habits now because their brains are still developing and they can form habits that will last a lifetime.

Lukaszuk said the benefits of eating healthy include good health, better energy level and improved attention to studying.

“Think of your body as a computer,” Lukaszuk said. “If you put junk in, you are going to get junk out.”