SMC nutritionist provides health advice
Kathryn Marshall | Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Nutritionist Anna Wasierski has worked with students and their daily nutrition habits for more than 18 years at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame. During appointments, students consistently ask about how to eat in the dining hall, Wasierski said.
“They’re used to coming from mom and dad doing the majority of their cooking, [and] they’re also coming from a full kitchen where they could eat when they want, how they want. … Trying to come in to navigate the dining hall is a big challenge,” Wasierski said.
In response, Wasierski said she looks at the student’s schedule and personal preferences to develop a plan that fits the student’s unique situation.
“A student walks in the door and they’re completely different from the student who was in before … Everyone has goals, whether that’s weight gain, weight loss, weight maintenance … there’s so many different factors that go into that, so I treat every student as an individual,” Wasierski said.
When it comes to navigating the dining hall, Wasierski said she believes having a routine is ideal.
“I think it’s really important for students to know your body thrives on routine,” she said. “[Your body] needs you eating routinely throughout the day so that you’re not like a gas tank out of gas and your car won’t go. You do need something. Will your body keep moving [if you don’t eat routinely]? Absolutely. Will it move efficiently? Probably not.”
This routine includes the three main meals of the day, as well as snacks. It’s normal and healthy for a college student to snack at night within a time frame, Wasierski said.
”I tell students [to] have a time frame of when you want to have snack … Have a game plan going into it,” she said. “I know a lot of students try not to keep any food in their room just because they don’t want to struggle, they don’t want to have so many choices, but sometimes then they won’t make the effort to go and get something, or they make the effort and it isn’t the best choice.”
While sugary cake and cookies may be a quick pick-me-up, Wasierski said they are merely quick fixes that could be replaced with better options. She said she encourages students to have healthy snack options available in their rooms.
“I always recommend that students have a well-stocked refrigerator as well as other items available. And in the refrigerator I encourage some protein-rich choices,” she said. “Cheese sticks, yogurt … deli meats are some great choices. Outside of the refrigerator having different kinds of whole grains, different kinds of granola bars or cereals or crackers are great choices.
“It’s not that you have to eat twigs and branches. Your food is supposed to taste good, it’s supposed to be a pleasurable activity … when your food tastes good, not only do you get physically satisfied from that, you get mentally satisfied from that.”
She said by developing healthy eating habits as well as sleeping enough and drinking water students can take on the following day with a steady mind and handle stress better.
“What you put in your body fuels everything else in your life,” she said.
Students can contact nutritionists from Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame with any questions they may have concerning nutrition.