Students face healthy food challenges of office workers

Long commutes and long days on campus leave many students with poor food choices (Flickr via U.S. Department of Agriculture). Long commutes and long days on campus leave many students with poor food choices (Flickr via U.S. Department of Agriculture).

Allie Langohr
Life Reporter

 March has been Nutrition Month in Canada with the Dietitians of Canada offering healthy tips to help those living a nine to five life.

The organization launched a multimedia campaign that addressed unhealthy eating and the decline of home-cooked meals.

An Ipsos Reid poll conducted in Spring 2014 for the Dietitians of Canada showed that 45 per cent of Canadians say it is challenging to consistently eat healthy meals and snacks at work.

“What we really want to do with nutrition month is establish Dietitians of Canada as the most trusted source of nutrition-based information in the country,” said Beatrice Bastedo, public relations representative for the organization.

“Our main societal goal was to help Canadians eat better and be healthier,” she said.

Avoiding the drive-thru and other fast food topped the list of tips from the Dietitians, which were mostly directed at people who spend the bulk of their day in the workplace.

Drinking water and not adding sugar to tea, and lattes are also important, said the group. Taking energizing walks instead of drinking caffeine and celebrating birthdays in bulk to cut down on the amount of cake eaten also made the list.

Students often spend longer than eight hours on campus, and they find themselves facing the same struggles as workers in offices.

First year Humber 3D Animation students Alexander Andonovski and Miru Kim said there is a lack of healthy options available on campus, especially when they’re spending late nights in the labs. There are days when they spend over 12 hours on campus.

“Other than salads and sometimes pasta, I guess, there’s not really a lot of healthy choices. When you do get something healthy, the portions are not as good,” said Andonovski. Making food at home is usually both cheaper and healthier, he said.

Kim said he makes use of the salad bar at least once a week, which offers up to a pound of salad with an $8 cap.

“For a snack, I just starve,” said Kim.

When the North campus Food Emporium closes at 6 p.m., and students are still on campus working on projects, Kim says it gets even harder to make healthy choices.

“We have no choice but to eat vending machine food or vitamin water,” he said.

General Manager of Food Services, York Tang said that providing healthy options for students living in residence is a high priority because the students’ main source of food comes from the school. The food on campus is provided by franchises and the choices are determined by those companies.

Tang also said that next school year, Humber will bring in registered dietitians twice a year on North and Lakeshore campuses to talk to students about making good nutrition choices.

For those looking for healthy make-ahead recipes or inspiration to get back in the kitchen, the app Cookspiration, which is promoted by the Dietitians of Canada, has been labeled as Apple’s best new app twice.

“This is a tool that allowed us to encourage a behavioural change in people,” said Bastedo. “The app hosts different meal ideas, everything from dinner ideas to workplace snacks. It has over 200 recipes.”

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