Humber College started its Healthy Changes program on Thursday, offering students and staff eight weeks of workshops focused on balancing diets and creating healthy lifestyles.
Lori Short-Zamudio, program coordinator of Healthy Changes, said the program is a jumpstart into improving people’s overall health and teaching them how to create goal settings.
“People will set a goal that’s like ‘I need to lose 20 pounds,’” Short-Zamudio said. “No one can do anything to guarantee you to lose [that weight] unless we chop off your head and your arm.”
Instead, the program teaches people to set goals that relate to a short-term and long-term approach, such as trying to add more leafy greens to one’s lunch, she said.
According to a report from Ontario’s Ministry of Health, 62 per cent of Canadians aged 12 to 19 do not eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
“It’s very difficult to make good [healthy] choices when you’re hungry,” said Natalie Lougheed, a registered dietitian. “If you’re trying to eat everything your body needs in half of the day, there is a very good chance you won’t be able to eat all of what your body needs.”
The program will help students overcome this habit through a behavioural change workshop, which helps fight the question: “what’s in your way of eating fruits and vegetables, or eating lunch?” Short-Zamudio said.
“I find students are super busy, running all over the place, and three o’clock hits and they’re like ‘I don’t feel good,’ she said. “Well, because you didn’t eat anything and you’ve had three coffees…on an empty stomach.”
Having convenient, on-the-go or hand-sized snacks such as granola bars or trail-mix in one’s knapsack is a way of fixing that problem, Lougheed said.
“Keep breakfast simple. Don’t be afraid to have an old classic like a bowl of cereal and [some] fruit,” she said. “For lunch, one of the easiest things is to have is leftovers from the night before.”
It’s important to make sure students learn the importance of balancing their diet and how important it is to nourish and feed their bodies, Short-Zamudio said.