Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Maggie Mallon

For many Villanova students, the month of March elicits thoughts of spring break and warmer weather. While March may be the transition between winter and spring, it is also National Nutrition Month. With the busy lives many Villanova students lead, healthy diet choices are sometimes overlooked in favor of food that is quick and convenient. However, being healthy is easier than you may think. Try incorporating the following suggestions into your routine. These tips require little effort, but will have a positive long term effect on your overall health.

Skip the Soda

While you may still be excited over the newly implemented Coca Cola products, soda has no nutritional value. Try a healthy alternative with your meal: juice, water or milk. Any one of these drinks will quench your thirst and provide your body with essential nutrients-something that cannot be accomplished with a soda.

“Eat Right” with Dining Services

In honor of National Nutrition Month, Dining Services is providing students with nutritious choices to match this year’s theme: “Eat right.” Learn how to prepare easy and nutritious meals all month with free cooking demos. The series kicked off on March 10 at Belle Air Terrace, but you can check out a Demo today at Donahue Court at 1 p.m Events will also be held on March 18 at Dougherty Hall and March 20 at the Exchange. Dining services is focusing on vegetarianism this year, so in addition to teaching Villanova students how to prepare healthy dishes, each dinner menu will include a vegetarian entrée.

Be a Smart Food Shopper

Students living off campus and buying their own groceries may find the shelves of junk food at Genuardi’s and ACME tempting. However, look for healthy alternatives. Read the nutrition labels and search for foods that are good sources of fiber, calcium, vitamin C and iron. These foods have great nutritional value and keep you full longer. Avoid foods high in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.

Make Responsible Drinking Choices

If you’re not of the legal drinking age, this should not be a problem for you. However, students who are 21, should know that alcoholic beverages can be high in calories. A 12 ounce beer has nearly 150 calories. Five ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol both equal about 100 calories. Be sure to drink in moderation. Not only is it a healthier option, it’s a safer one.

Pile Up on Fruits and Vegetables

Obviously fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet. Be sure take advantage of the fresh produce available at Villanova. All dining halls, as well as Belle Air Terrace, provide salad bars for students to create their own vegetable concoctions. What about when you’re eating on the go? Skip the chocolate chip cookies and candy available at the à la carte dining facilities, and go for a fresh piece of fruit.

Create Your Own Food Pyramid

Everyone knows the USDA food pyramid, but not everyone follows these generalized daily nutrition choices. Visit mypyramid.gov to create your own daily food pyramid. Sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, My Pyramid creates a customized balance among the food groups for each user to guarantee you make smart diet choices and get the most nutrition out of your daily calories.

Exercise, exercise, exercise!

With three on-campus exercise facilities, getting to the gym is easy. Try to fit a work-out schedule into your weekly routine. If you have an established exercise plan in your schedule, you will be less likely to skip a session. If the gym isn’t for you, try going for a walk or a run in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. Even just a brisk five minute walk each day will add to your overall health.