Active Living, Balance, Classes, Events, Food, How-to, Places, Student Life

Happy Nutrition Month!

The month of March brings with it many things:

  • Midterms
  • Papers
  • Movie releases (London Has Fallen comes out tomorrow (sequel to Olympus Has Fallen), I’m excited but also skeptical… then again, how bad can a Gerard Butler-starring film really be?)
  • Warmer weather (hopefully!)
    AND
  • Nutrition Month!

Registered Dietitians of Canada celebrate Nutrition Month every March. This year, they’re encouraging Canadians to take a 100-meal journey over the course of March, focusing each week on a new goal such as making quality food decisions and being aware of portion sizes.

You can take the pledge and find more information on the Dietitians of Canada website.

Source: dietitians.ca

Source: dietitians.ca

This year, I had the pleasure of taking NFS284: Basic Human Nutrition. It’s a course I’ve been looking forward to since I was first made aware of it. My passion for fitness is complemented by a passion for science, medicine and nutrition — all of which are components of the course. I took it last term and I found it very eye-opening and informative. I started making recommendations to my parents as I learned about changing calcium levels and requirements of our bodies throughout our lives. The course also covered how the perception and understanding of many nutrition-related topics and controversies has changed over time. I highly recommend it to anyone. It’s not very science-dense and consists of a concise module on the physiology associated with the course topics for those that may not have a science background.

Knowing what we need and being aware of the consequences of deficiencies and surpluses, however, is half the battle. Implementing that knowledge and eating healthy takes some energy and conscious thought, but that’s no reason to not make a positive change. You don’t have to meticulously keep track of your vitamin A intake all day. Start by making small, improved meal choices throughout your day and see how they add up.

Source: sites.psu.edu

Source: sites.psu.edu

As a vegetarian with poor iron intake, I’ve seen the change a mineral sufficiency (as opposed to deficiency) can make. Once I looked after my iron levels, I found myself waking up feeling much, much more rested as opposed to the constant fatigue I was feeling prior to the change.

So how do you make good choices on campus?

  • Pack a lunch: It may not be time-effective but it’s certainly cost-effective and allows you more control over what you’re eating. You’re not stuck with a fatty bagel because it’s no longer the closest thing! You’ve got a healthy meal within arm’s reach.
  • Fresh on Bloor: Fresh Restaurant on Bloor St. just west of St. George is a fantastic choice for lunch. The restaurant is essentially vegetarian/vegan but I’ve encouraged (read as: dragged) many non-vegetarian/vegan friends to dine with me there and they’ve always been very pleased. Except my parents, but they’re a whole other challenge.
  • The Green Beet: Located in the basement of Gerstein library, The Green Beet is still relatively new (having opened in September 2014 if I recall correctly) and it’s our sole vegetarian restaurant on campus.
  • Not Just Greens: Located in the Medical Science Building cafeteria, Not Just Greens makes you a custom salad with the greens and toppings you select!
Source: ueat.utoronto.ca

Source: ueat.utoronto.ca

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg and it’s always popular to make healthy choices without going all-out vegetarian or eating salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I think one of the best things you can do to support your nutrition is to have a plan. Eating in a hurry doesn’t tend to yield good results. So, check out UEat to familiarize yourself with campus food locations or Dietitians of Canada to learn more about good nutrition.

Most of all, take a first step. If not today, when? We only get one body to live in after all.