Hey students: Forum Wednesday night will tell you, ‘Eat this, not that'

Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 8:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 8:28 a.m.

Eating well-rounded, nutrient-rich meals is a challenge for University of Florida student Carly Davis.

Before moving from home, the civil engineering junior counted on three well-rounded meals per day, compliments of her mother. Now, Davis is tempted by vending machine snacks and often chooses to dine out with friends over cooking at home.

"It seems like a more daunting task to put flavors together than to pop something in the microwave," she said.

Davis' predicament is one many college students experience.

"There's a myth that eating well is expensive, time-consuming, and bland," said Herisa Stanislaus, director of the Health Affairs Cabinet of Student Government, which aims to educate students about how they can achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles.

To inform students about how to maximize their nutritional intake while minimizing financial and social sacrifices, the Health Affairs Cabinet of Student Government will host "Eat This, Not That," Wednesday night at 6 in the Graham Gallery.

The event, which is open to the public, will provide free fruits, veggies and wraps to demonstrate that eating well doesn't have to be boring or bland, Stanislaus said. She anticipates about 50 people will attend the event.

Janis Mena, a nutritionist for Gator Well, will speak about how to combine a healthy diet with college life.

"Students are bombarded with a lot of messages," she said. Low fat, reduced sodium and diet soda options tend to confuse and mislead people.

Mena's message is one of moderation, not exclusion. "Eat more of these than that," would be a more appropriate title for the presentation, Mena said.

"Everybody needs to have some enjoyment from their food," she said.

Rather than avoiding unhealthy foods at all costs, people should partake in small amounts and stop eating when they are full.

Making two meals out of one is an easy way to cut down on unhealthy food choices, Mena said. It's also a way to save money. Other tricks for eating well include filling up on water and choosing foods with lower fat content.

Ultimately, Mena will discuss which foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are key to achieving balanced nutrition.

"We want people to be more comfortable, more conscious, more aware, and know there are resources on campus," Mena said.

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