Healthy eats make cool treats

By Tara Snowden

Late-night snacks during study sessions and unhealthy morning meals are common in college life.

However, these daily snacking sessions could mean bad news in the future.

According to a study found at the WebMD Web site conducted by David A. Levitsky, PhD, a professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell University, the average weight gain by a college freshman is a half a pound per week, which is nearly 11 times more than what the typical 17 or 18-year-old should gain.

Levitsky attributed 20 percent of the weight gain to the breakfast and the all-you-can-eat dining in the residence halls.

With teen and child obesity at an all-time high, proper eating is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes staying away from foods high in calories and trans fats. These foods will not only reduce students’ energy levels, but can also cause heart problems and high cholesterol.

College is not an easy place to start counting the fat and calories in foods, considering the irregular sleeping and eating schedules of most college students.

“It’s so hard to eat healthy at school,” freshman undecided major Mary Vanderbilt said. “The schedule is hectic, we never get enough sleep and the easiest stuff to eat on the go is unhealthy junk food.”

Although food students eat in their residence hall rooms may not always be healthy, the dining halls offer a variety of food for all students.

“We make nutritional information available to students who are interested in finding out what they are eating,” said Director of Residential Dining Ralph Chaplin. “In each hall there is a nutrition corner where [nutritional information] can be picked up.”

Keeping away from beer and other alcoholic beverages can also help students stay healthy while at school. The average 12 oz. beer contains 148 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates.

Exercising and staying active are also key factors to staying healthy. Students not very physically active during their teen and early adult years have a higher chance for obesity during adulthood.

Luckily for NIU students, the Campus Recreation Center offers a variety of activities and events to encourage students to stay fit and get involved.

During the first few weeks of school, the Rec Center will see about 2,000 students. However, according to Maria Jaeger, facility supervisor for the Rec Center, the number of students participating decreases over the course of the semester.

Jaeger encourages students to get involved and find something they enjoy in order to stay active while at school. The Rec Center offers a variety of fitness and wellness programs and nutrition counseling.