Trying to figure out… Food Situation

Food becomes an afterthought real quick once you hit college. Without the reminder of someone providing food or carved out meal times, many college students don’t eat. When they do eat, it’s not even close to the realm of something healthy. This problem usually gets worse during midterms and finals seasons, when many deadlines pile up. It’s hard to keep up and usually, food is the first thing that gets skipped.

At NYU, I found that most students live off events with free food, especially freshmen. For commuters, if you don’t have a meal plan, figuring out what to eat is a struggle.

During my first semester of college, I would go an entire day without eating. I would come home after a long day of classes and just collapse on my bed. While laying in bed trying to muster the energy to start my homework, I would hear low rumblings. Then at times, there would be a loud churning sound. Only then would I register how hungry I was. I’d replay my day to figure what was the last thing I ate. The answer usually was an Eggo waffle with my morning coffee. I soon realized after many repeated moments the insidious nature of my eating habits and mindset. Not only is this practice unhealthy, but it also makes getting through school much harder.

Some things I’ve learned from commuting the past three years:

  • Bring lunch with you whenever you can. 
    • There are plenty of places on campus where you can use a microwave to warm up your food. Additionally, there are sinks and water dispensers if needed. (Commuter lounges are set up for that purpose)
  • Bring snacks on those days when bringing lunch isn’t necessary or takes up too much space in your bag.
  • Stay hydrated! 
    • Carry a water bottle. Maybe a collapsible one that will take up less space once you finish it. Flavor it with limes or fruit if drinking plain water isn’t working for you.
  • Build in reminders.
    • Check in on others and have them check in on you. Find a food buddy to keep you conscious of meals. It helps if they are a foodie or health conscious to keep you on that track.
    • Put reminders or alarms on your phone to eat. It forces you to think about your body and its need for sustenance.

From NYU Steinhardt Bio Page

Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. She teaches courses that range from food writing to food advocacy to topics in food sociology. She has written plenty of articles and books on the topic of nutrition and the dynamics of food in our society. Her philosophy when it comes to approaching food is that “Healthy diets are good for whatever ails you, including stress.”

Here are some points she suggests to keep in mind when thinking about food:

  • Most important fruits and vegetables. Eat the ones you like best, but it’s good to vary them as much as possible.
  • No easy way to say this, but eat less. Weight gain is about excessive energy intake. To keep your energy in balance, choose smaller portions and avoid snacking in between meals.
  • If you like coffee or soda, drink it, but recognize how much caffeine it has and how much is tolerated. I don’t generally view coffee as a problem except when it is excessively caffeinated. Shots are another matter; it’s best to avoid them.
  • Approach food with the mindset of it being life’s greatest pleasure. Eating healthy is so easy that the journalist Michael Pollan can explain how to do it in seven words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

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By Sanjidah Chowdhury

Sanjidah is a rising senior at NYU Steinhardt majoring in applied psychology. She aspires to become a mental health counselor to understand intergenerational dynamics and better serve the needs of women, Muslims, and the South Asian community. She currently works with NYU’s Office of Alumni Relations. Throughout the academic year, she works on a research team under Professor Niobe Way and volunteers for Nordoff -Robbins Center for Music Therapy. Most of the time you can find Sanjidah with her nose in a book and music blasting through her headphones. 

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