SHAPE Programming Raises Awareness for Nutrition

Nicole Letendre ‘23

Chief Features Editor

From March 22-24, Student Health Awareness Peer Educators (SHAPE) will be promoting healthy habits surrounding nutrition by distributing educational materials and some healthy snacks at a lobby table in Hogan! As college students, it is important to slow down and prioritize our health. Choosing healthy options allows us to get important nutrients, helping us to feel better and be more productive throughout the day. According to the US Department of Agriculture (Nutrition.gov), following dietary guidelines can also lower the risk of developing diabetes type II, heart disease, and cancer. This month, SHAPE has been focused on the topic of nutrition and providing education on the importance of choosing healthier options. We have a spread of food available to us on-campus, but listed here is a variety of healthier options, compiled by a SHAPE member, to choose when ordering at the 1843 Grill: wheat bread and wraps; meats such as chicken, ham, tuna, and turkey; toppings such as lettuce, spinach, tomato, red onion, peppers, cucumbers, etc., and an apple as a side. Additionally, according to nia.nih.gov, coffee and tea contribute a negligible number of calories, unless sugar or cream is added. These are not nutrient-dense additions, so be mindful of that when consuming your daily coffee or tea. 

The US Department of Agriculture (Nutrition.gov) also offers some specific recommendations. To allow your body to get all the necessary nutrients, it is important to reduce intake of added sugars to 50g per day or less. Fruits and vegetables are healthy options and alternatives. They state that a healthy diet is composed of nutrient-dense foods and can include vegetables, fruits, grains (especially whole grains), dairy (fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.), protein rich foods (poultry, beans, nuts, etc.), and oils (vegetable oils, seafood, nuts, etc.). It is important to limit your intake of added sugars, saturated fat, sodium, and alcoholic drinks to maintain a healthy diet. MyPlate.gov is also an excellent resource that elaborates on the exact composition of a healthy meal. They recommend that half your plate be composed of fruits and vegetables, vary your vegetable types, make half your grain products whole grains, vary your proteins, and try low-fat or fat-free milk/yogurt. Lastly, FDA.gov does an excellent job explaining the basic elements of the nutrition facts label on food products. The four main parts are the serving information (serving size), calories (listed as amount per serving), nutrient information, and the %DV (daily value). %5 or less is a low DV, and 20% or more is a high DV. 

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into maintaining a healthy diet, but it can benefit you for years to come as you make even a few healthier choices. SHAPE is excited to be able to share a wealth of information with the campus community and hopes to spread awareness for the importance of nutrition—and how to prioritize it even as a busy college student! 

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