College students in America have most likely heard of the infamous “Freshman Fifteen”. This is a popular term that claims to affect many students in their first year of college or university. Food consumption and diet in college often become inconsistent rather than what is typically consumed at home with their parents. The number fifteen signifies the number of pounds gained during freshman year (Farlex Inc., 2012). These poor eating habits stem from students eating less fruits and vegetables and more of foods high in fat and caloric value.
That’s why it is important for college students to follow the MyPlate guideline. MyPlate is a nutritional guide based on what is advised by the government’s Dietary Guidelines and is also meant to replace the well-recognized but somewhat confusing food pyramid (TIME Magazine, 2011).
Not only is MyPlate on Campus a program that serves as an initiative to get college and university students talking about healthy eating, it encourages students to work with their campus community to create ways for students to adopt healthy lifestyles that they can maintain during and beyond their college years.
Students on campuses around the country have an opportunity to victor healthy eating and lead the way in improving the health of other young adults at their school.
The importance of eating heathy is at an all-time high in the United States due to obesity reaching rampant proportions. Obesity is now the most important nutrition challenge facing the general population; In order to decrease this epidemic, nutrition education needs to be clarified, consistent and refined.
(Agri-Pulse 2011). Many students take their health for granted and think “I’m young, I don’t have to worry about all that stuff until I get older.” Students are often faced with all-you-can-eat dining halls, vending machines, food on the go and late-night pizza delivery, not to mention financial constraints that limit their food choice.
When following the MyPlate guideline, it is important to note that all food and beverage choices matter. The focus should be on variety, amount, and nutrition. Develop a healthy food and beverage habit by choosing from the five main food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy—in order to get the right amount of essential nutrients. Every individual is different, so when trying to eat the right amount of calories; age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level must be taken into account. The normal calorie intake for the average college student would be around 1,800 – 2,400 for females and 2,400 – 2,600 for males, fluctuating depending on how active the individual is (FS Gate, 2010).
MyPlate helps by using visual icons to help individuals remain focused on getting the recommended daily food requirements. It pushes that person to eat healthy and reminds the individual of which foods they’ve already eaten and which ones they need to include in their next meal. To follow the MyPlate eating guide start by eating plenty of fruits of all colors. For the vegetable portion, note that the more veggies and variety the better. For protein, make sure to choose healthy proteins such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts; limit red meats and cheese; avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats. For whole grains, eat a variety and limit refined grains (like white rice and white bread). When choosing dairy products, it is best to choose fat free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheeses. Dairy products including fats in the product count against the individuals limit for calories from saturated fats.