Eating Healthy in College

Did you know that Southern Adventist University is among the top private universities in the entire country for student fitness? Our school is packed with fitness classes, athletic events, and intramurals sports—but when I went around asking students what they know about Southern’s nutrition movement, few had anything to say. The vision of wellness here at Southern should not only be defined by our physical fitness, but also by our mental, spiritual, emotional, and nutritional health. Step by step, we’re trying to create a complete culture of wellness at our beloved university. Let’s talk food.

You don’t need a special diet to get fit and lose weight; you just have to know how to eat healthy. First, watch out for deceptive labels like “low-fat,” “fat-free,” “all-natural,” or “healthy.” These items are often very high in calories and may contain a significant quantity of artificial ingredients.

Next, keep an eye out for the way foods are cooked. If you have options, always choose grilled over fried. Eat food in its most natural state. The more food has been processed, the worse it is for your body. Fruits and veggies will never let you down. Sugar will always let you down. Those donuts from the Village Market are a delicious treat, but eating them isn’t doing you any favors. Sodas are even worse. Many are the equivalent of eating five or six of those donuts.

Don’t forget about your proteins and grains. There are tons of delightful ways to get your protein without meat. Protein is found in nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and even some produce! Quinoa is one of my favorites. It’s entirely vegan and a complete protein. When selecting your grains, always choose whole grain. Those are the grains that haven’t had their bran and germ removed, and they have important nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium. Believe it or not, there’s a significant link between eating whole grains and weight loss.

So what do you do when you walk into the cafeteria and the healthy choices seem few and far between? March over to the salad bar and stock up on some raw fruits and veggies. Oil and vinegar makes a great dressing. The wrong dressing could ruin your salad with calories, fats, and sugars. Avoid overeating; you probably don’t need to go back for seconds. Skip dessert, or limit it to just once a week. Go for those items you know are power foods, and don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients. And don’t forget, water is the only beverage your body was designed for.

I know it seems hard to eat this way, and I can’t promise that I always do, but I can promise that you will feel more energetic, have an easier time focusing and staying awake in class, and perform better in the gym. There are hundreds if not thousands of studies that have proven the benefits of healthy eating. So do yourself a favor: eat healthy in college. And don’t forget that it’s okay to get that VM donut once in a while.


Michael is one of our Student Wellness Directors, part of Southern's commitment to a healthy campus and student body. 

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Michael Specht Story by Michael Specht Published: Last Edited:

The views and opinions of campus guests do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Southern Adventist University. An individual's or group's invitation to speak or present on campus should not be regarded as a university endorsement of their philosophies and beliefs.