Healthy eating habits are valuable to the performance of college students.
Not eating healthy will result in students becoming tired more often and not getting the nutrients the body needs to function properly, said Jennifer Harrison-Hauer, health educator at Florida A&M University.
“No food is forbidden, but it’s all about balance,” Harrison-Hauer said. “Junk foods slow you down, and you may not be as alert as you want to be.”
Eating fast food is not such a good idea, she said.
“Some salads at fast food places are burgers in a bowl. All the additional toppings don’t make it any healthier than eating a burger,” Harrison-Hauer said.
Some students think being young and active is enough to stay away from the bad effects of fast food.
“I’m young and will burn all the bad things off,” said Thomas Cook, a sophomore general studies student from Tallahassee. “I don’t sit at a desk all day and then go home and sleep. I work it off some kind of way.”
Some students said money is a big factor when eating healthy.
“There are times when I’ve cooked real food like vegetables and things,” said Lonnie Nash, a sophomore chemical engineering student from Philadelphia.
“But now, being that it’s at the beginning of the year, money is limited. Until I get a check, I can’t go shopping,”Nash said.
There are ways to eat healthy on a budget.
Students can go shopping and spend about the same amount of money as they would on fast food.
That way, students can make meals that will last for a couple of days, Harrison-Hauer said.
A variety of healthy food can be found at the New Leaf Market, located at 1235 Apalachee Pkwy.
The New Leaf Market has items such as ginseng cola, vegan chocolate chip cookies, organic waffles and pizza munchies (soy cheese wrapped in wheat pockets), to name a few.
People interested in shopping at the store do not need a large budget, said Adriane Whiteman, front manager for New Leaf Market.
“We have student discount day on Wednesdays, and students can save an extra five percent on the total amount of purchase,” Whiteman said.
The New Leaf Market also offers alternatives to the energy drinks that some students use on those long study nights, said Andrea Franklin, a supplement specialist for New Leaf.
“You might want to try something with ginseng in it, instead of caffeine,” Franklin said. “It’s better for you but has some of the same results.”
Harrison-Hauer said healthy living involves a voluntary desire to take a more active role in health by making positive choices that enhance the mind, body and soul.
These choices are mostly made when people stay active to keep their bodies strong, improve energy and reduce stress. Also, “eat nutritiously and choose a variety of foods from all of the food groups,” Harrison-Hauer said.
“Remember, healthy living is a life-long commitment to yourself, and you certainly deserve it,” she said.