Eating healthy while living the residence hall life - News

Eating healthy while living the residence hall life – News

Lizzie Davis, Ph.D., shares tips about healthy eating for college students who live in dorm halls.

Lizzie Davis, Ph.D.,
Photography: Lexi Kon
For first-time college students or those living in residence halls, eating healthy can be a challenge. However, nutrition experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say there are simple and practical ways students can eat healthy while living the residence hall life.

“College is an important time when people are more in control of their eating habits,” said Lizzie Davis, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UAB. “It is important to establish habits that they will carry with them throughout their lives, such as cooking or grocery shopping.”

Davis says there are many things college students can start doing that will help them in the long run.

Make the most of your space

Davis recommends storing foods with a long shelf life (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, instant brown rice, oatmeal) by storing them in an airtight container under your bed.

“Also store other items that don’t need space in the refrigerator, such as apples or citrus fruits,” Davis said. “Both do not require refrigeration for about two weeks. This will free up space for perishable items if your residence hall allows for a small refrigerator.”

For small fridge items, Davis recommends stocking up on foods full of calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12, such as dairy products and lean meats.

Some students in the halls of residence may have access to a microwave in their room or suite – another way they can take advantage of their space and increase their chances of healthy eating.

Shop for groceries, not convenience stores

Recipe developed by students in NTR 330 at UAB: Nutrition and Metabolism class. Click on the image to enlarge it. While some college students may face barriers to accessing groceries, Davis says one of the problems students face is stocking processed snacks and foods with low nutritional value in convenience stores.

One way to eliminate this obstacle is to use ride-sharing at the grocery store.

“Sharing a ride can be very useful and a fun outing for you and your friends,” she said. “It can also be inexpensive if students pool their money for the trip.”

At UAB, students can access the Live HealthSmart Alabama Mobile Market to purchase affordable products and healthy foods. In addition, it offers both Blazer Kitchen locations, at Hill Student Center and 1613 11th Ave. South, any UAB students facing financial need and/or food insecurity with perishable and non-perishable foods, personal hygiene items and school supplies for any UAB students experiencing financial need and/or food insecurity.

Prepare a meal together

Inside the mobile market 1 scrLife Health Smart Alabama Mobile MarketDavis says enjoying a meal with friends and/or roommates is a great way to cut costs and food waste.

“Family-style meals or food swaps are a great way to have a good meal,” she said. “Another option is to split the recipe among friends and have everyone bring one ingredient. It’s a great way to spend time with friends and have a healthy meal together.”

Get your daily nutrients

Davis says the research suggests college students aren’t getting enough zinc, calcium or vitamin B12.

“Poultry, red meat, beans, and nuts are great sources of zinc,” she said. “Obviously you can get calcium from dairy products, but also from dark green leafy vegetables. Dairy products, bananas, and fortified cereals also provide vitamin B12.”


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