Healthy living starts much sooner than your graduation luncheons

Sunflower Market Weekly Flyer, advertising their consistently low prices on produce.

By Rebekah-Anne Gebler

SALT LAKE CITY—Equipped with energy drinks and sleeves of Hot Pockets©, many of today’s graduates are entering the real world unprepared.

With graduation only a week away, the students at the University of Utah would do well to learn about proper nutrition before tossing their caps.

“Their lifestyle now dictates their lifestyle in the future,” said Dr. Beverly Bradshaw, a registered dietician and a faculty member of the nutrition department at the U. of U.

Learning to eat healthy as a college student will allow you to teach your children good eating habits, said Bradshaw.

“Habits and routines don’t change that much once you leave college,” said Bradshaw.

If students understand how to manage their health, stress, and nutrition in college, they will be more successful when they graduate, said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw explained that every student at the university should take a nutrition class. Even the most basic ones at the U. give students the information they need to make healthy choices.

These classes also help students understand the “why” of choosing healthy foods. A nutrition class also explains how these foods function in one’s body.

“The digestion part of this is key,” said Bradshaw.

Food is the thing that determines if you have good or poor digestion. Digestion will dictate how good or bad you feel during the day.

“Portion control and selection of food is very critical,” said Bradshaw.

Packing lean protein, fruit, vegetables and/or complex carbohydrates helps students from giving in to the temptation of a vending machine.

Exercising regularly will also deliver positive results to students, both now and later in their lives.

Studies have shown that students who enroll in physical activities “have higher GPA’s, graduate at higher rates, and take more credit hours than those who don’t participate,” said Mary Bohlig, the Campus Recreation Services Director.

Ms. Bohlig discussed how scheduling daily exercise “reduces stress, improves sleep, and has a cause-effect on work production.”

Mary Ungricht, a piano performance graduate from the U., is currently enrolled in a Zumba class and has taken gymnastics and spinning in past semesters.

Even with her busy schedule, Ungricht felt the need to stay active as an undergraduate.

“College age is one of the most active and hopefully healthful times in life.  By eating better, you are taking the initiative to be healthy for life, not just for the moment,” said Ungricht.

Ungricht learned about nutrition content and portion control at a young age because she is a type-1 diabetic. Her awareness carried over to her life in college and as such, she is finishing her pre-requisites for the nutrition graduate program at the U.

Though many students may have awareness like Ungricht, they face the problems of preparation time and money issues when choosing to purchase healthy food.

It’s much faster—and falsely—cheaper to go to fast food restaurants or even heat up frozen meals instead of taking the time to prepare food by hand.

As students enter the last week of school, choosing between an apple and apple pie should not be a light decision. Making nutrition and exercise a priority now will not only assist students during college but in the many years to follow.