By TAYLOR DUFFIELD
When hunger pangs strike on Taco Tuesday, students and faculty often lose sight of the healthier meal alternatives offered at the Cumberland Café.
It seems as though when lunchtime comes around, we’re too hungry or too busy to go out of our way to think of what it is we should be putting into our bodies. But our diet is too important to be forgotten about or put on the back burner. Maintaining a daily routine of health conscious choices will affect your work performance and allow you to utilize your full potential. Staying awake in class will no longer be a struggle with a full stomach allowing you to retain more information. Also, without the distraction of a rumbling stomach, you will be able to think more clearly and work more efficient. Ultimately, a proper diet will reflect on your grades each semester.
Consider a scenario of choosing lunch on a busy day at school. As you enter the Café, the french fries are already prepared to perfection in the little boats as their aroma wafts for all to smell. Mouthwatering is unavoidable and in your mind, you know devouring the entire bunch could be done so with little to no effort. On your way out, grab a ketchup packet and preparation on your side is absent. Sure, not only were you able to finish the fries and make it to class on time, but your meal was so small that you also had time to get ahead on tomorrow’s homework. But the fries were not, in fact, the timely decision. We justify the decision to go with the french fries instead of taking our time to design a meal that is balanced in food groups due to the little effort it takes us to ingest them quickly and still speed off to our next class. It will catch up to you in an hour when you have to leave class to run to the vending machine because you are hungry again. Eating a well-balanced meal in the first place will satisfy your hunger longer, allowing you to stay focused and attentive in class.
A well-balanced diet requires a combination of protein, carbohydrates, dairy based products, and of course, fruits and vegetables. Including a variety of these food groups for each meal allows our bodies to utilize the nutrients that are necessary to fuel us. Along with sticking to the food groups, calorie intake is another key factor of a healthy diet. According to http://www.choosemyplate.gov, it is recommended that women should consume around 565 calories per meal while men should consume around 735 calories per meal. It is a good idea to work with these guidelines when choosing meals in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve desirable results.
Theresa Sbrana, a chef with CulinArt at the Cumberland Café, recommended to students, “vegetables should be included in every meal.” Sbrana suggested that staff and students looking for a balanced lunch between 600-700 calories should try a wrap but turn down the condiments and the cheese. Another great option is the salad bar or any of the specialty salads.
What we ingest directly affects our future. Staying aware of what it is that’s included in our daily meals sounds simple enough but can drastically affect our wellbeing in the long run. A well-balanced diet could be the key factor to avoid abnormalities such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The Cumberland Café offers healthy meals with fresh, locally grown ingredients. So, the next time you’re on campus looking to grab a bite to eat, consider the egg whites or oatmeal instead of the pancakes.