The Advance-Titan

UWO dietitian speaks to students about healthy eating

UW Oshkosh Registered Dietitian Kate Harrell spoke to students about assessing their diet, how to seek alternative healthy options and where to find healthy foods on campus.

Health Promotion Coordinator Juliana Kahrs said she has received a lot of emails asking about healthy food options on campus, which is why UWO decided to have this seminar.

Harrell said the idea of becoming a nutritionist came to her while she was playing for her high school basketball team.

“I noticed the team wasn’t eating before the game, and I started to put two and two together,” Harrell said. “Nutrition could really change our outcome, and we always, now that I look back, had trouble at the end of the game.”

Harrell said there is a new plate guideline for people to follow which splits up the person’s plate into four equal sections of fruit, vegetables, protein and grains, with a side of dairy.

According to Harrell, the freshman 15 notion in college stems from the freedom students have when they leave home and don’t have their parents around to curb their eating habits.

“There’s Blackhawk, for example, you can literally consume all of your calories for a day in one meal if you wanted,” Harrell said. “I think there’s, again, that independence and freedom factor to choose whatever you want.”

Senior Abby Boville said the food options on campus could do more to offer healthy food choices, and wishes Reeve would offer more choices of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“I like the salads that they have in Reeve,” Boville said. “But I think that there could be more healthy options.”

While Boville said the options could be better, she said she thinks what the campus offers now is okay.

“We have the freedom to make those good decisions if we’re educated enough,” Boville said.

Harrell said students can usually grab a piece of fruit anywhere on campus if they need a snack on the run.

“If you are on the go or even as a side, grab a piece of fruit, so you can at least start building towards that goal for the day,” Harrell said.

Sodexo marketing manager Kyle Milligan said there is an app called “Bite” that shows all of UWO’s menus.

“You can look at all the calorie content [of UWO food],” Milligan said. “You can follow guidelines that [Harrell] is going to present.”

Harrell said there are a lot of unhealthy options available that may not have been offered before students came to college which can contribute to the freshman 15.

“Some of the meal plans are kind of unlimited in terms of what you can choose, so I think that’s part of it,” Harrell said. “I think there’s a section of people that aren’t in sports anymore so they lose activity and increase intake.”

Junior Jasmine Pickett said she wants more options for healthy food, particularly in the entrees offered.

“We do have healthy snacks, but when you go to Blackhawk your main option is pretty much a salad if you want something really healthy,” Pickett said.

Harrell said a problem that stems from drinking is the bad eating habits that come with it.

“Two things I see: they won’t eat all day to save up for drinking,” Harrell said. “The flip side is where they eat a bunch of really unhealthy options after.”

Harrell said a healthy diet and choosing better foods positively correlates to being mentally fit.

“A lot of that ties into nutrients that are effected, your brain is definitely going to be affected from that,” Harrell said.

Energy drinks advertise how many B-vitamins are in them, but whole grains are naturally full of B-vitamins and are healthier, and in quantities that won’t negatively affect your body, Harrell said.

“If you think about a whole grain piece of bread versus a white piece of bread, your energy is going to be much more even,” Harrell said. “What we see with those refined grains and processed grains, you’re going to get a spike and then a drop.”

When it comes to cravings, Harrell said it is important for individuals to look at the driving sensation behind the craving.

“Sometimes it’s not that you’ve been avoiding everything, but it could be stress,” Harrell said. “Stress is usually what drives us, especially towards the sweet, sugary, not healthy [options].”

Harrell said she is a huge fan of moderation, but there’s a difference between moderation and going over the top.

“Dark chocolate or chocolate in general, like a little piece that can satisfy the desire for something sweet is absolutely manageable,” Harrell said.

Leave a Comment
Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
UWO dietitian speaks to students about healthy eating