Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff
WHAT’S IN YOUR fridge? That’s the question Health Services has been asking throughout the month of March. In partnership with the Dieticians of Canada, Health Promotions under the University of Ottawa Health Services have been travelling across campus trying to expose common nutrition myths and inform students about healthy eating. All of this is part of Nutrition Month—a time where dieticians promote healthy eating through nutritional awareness.
“Basically, Nutrition Month is something that the Dieticians of Canada have the lead on, and every year they have a different theme,” explained Greg Killough, student health coordinator at the university.
“This year [the theme] was ‘Getting the real deal on your meal’… taking these common nutrition myths and food myths, and trying to break them and give people the proper information.”
Health Promotions has been providing daily nutrition tips through Facebook and Twitter, hoping to encourage students to rethink some common habits—the one most popular among youth being the consumption of energy drinks.
“There are not a ton of reasons why someone would need an energy drink,” said Killough. “It’s not just about the caffeine; some have 40–50g of sugar, which is over 10 teaspoons.”
Tips such as these are being spread through social media, and cycled through monitors in the health clinic and on Geegees.ca.
Killough explained the number one suggestion he has for students is to be prepared and plan their meals so that it is easier to eat right under an intense schedule.
“It’s really hard when you are a student … to always have something healthy ready and available, and it’s a lot easier to reach for those convenience type things,” he said. “Obviously things happen, plans change—that’s the nature of being a student. But if you plan in advance, you know what to buy, stick with the healthy foods, and try and cook extra so you have leftovers so you can bring it for lunch or dinner the next day, it will prevent you from eating out.”
Whole food snacks such as vegetables and hummus, or smoothies with fruits, vegetables, and yogurt, are perfect snacks for the on-the-go student. Killough encourages students to take advantage of the services Health Promotions offers in order to get some more ideas.
Throughout March, Health Promotions has been offering weekly cooking classes that explore healthy alternatives to typical student-made meals. These classes take place in 90 University residence, and Killough encourages students to drop in and learn from the discussions. If you can’t make it to the sessions, Health Promotions lends out cookbooks as part of their multimedia library.
In addition to providing food suggestions, the university dietician answered questions from students at the Carrefour Francophone, a new student lounge dedicated to the Francaphonie.
“We have students coming in with different questions, and we keep track of questions that are asked more frequently,” said Killough. “So we actually had our dietician present those frequently asked questions. They were able to address questions students have over accessing healthy food—if they want to lose weight, gain weight, [and] sports nutrition.”
If Nutrition Month serves its purpose, more students will acknowledge healthier food choices and will better understand the real deal of their meal.
For more information on healthy eating and nutrition, visit Health Promotions in room 203 in the University Centre. To see the registered dietician on campus, visit 100 Marie Curie St. or call ( 613) 564-3950. You can visit Health Promotions’ Facebook group under UOttawa Health Services.