Healthy Cooking

Excerpt: A Case Study by Elizabeth DeRobertis, MS, RD, CDN, CDE

healthy-cooking-cover.jpg“Elizabeth DeRobertis said that college students need to make healthy eating a priority. She believes in starting each day with a balanced breakfast, even if it means grabbing a granola or cereal-type bar and a piece of fruit on their way out the door. She encourages us to get eight hours of sleep each night. DeRobertis sees students eat in response to stress, obtain high-calorie snacks from vending machines, and go too long without eating. She would like to see a short healthy cooking class added to school orientations and recipe cards being made available year-round. DeRobertis’ advice to students includes:

  1. Keep tabs on your calorie intake and prioritize where you want to spend your calories. I often think of the analogy between calories and money. Just like college kids need to be mindful of how and when they spend money, they should use the same strategic thinking when deciding how and where to spend their calories. They should look up the calorie and fat content of the foods they commonly eat if they do not have a nutrition label. Most restaurants offer their calories online. It is important not to drink empty calories. Juice, soda, Gatorade®, Vitamin Water® and high-calorie, sugared coffee drinks can contribute hundreds of extra calories to the day, and many unwanted pounds to their waistlines.
  2. Choose deli sandwiches more often than other types of “fast food” choices. Stock up on lean cold cuts, such as turkey, ham, roast beef, and chicken. This will always be fewer calories than a hamburger and fries or a piece of pizza. Buy low-fat condiments, so if they make things like a standard tuna sandwich, the calories and fat will be less if it is made with low-fat or fat-free mayo.
  3. Start as many meals as possible with a big salad or a broth-based soup. This will help with portion control and to meet nutrient needs. I read a story once about a freshman starting college who wanted to lose weight. He made a point of having a big salad each time he entered the cafeteria, and then he let himself eat what he wanted after he finished his salad. He lost 50 pounds his first year in college by doing this.”