Think before you snack to stay fit in school

Food choices on campus and busy student schedules can make staying healthy during the college years challenging for many students. The good news is it's not impossible.

One step in taking control of your health as a college student is recognizing the problem.

"It's a lack of awareness about what am I really putting into my body, what am I really choosing on a daily basis," said Jessica-Lauren Roberts, registered dietitian with Auburn University Campus Recreation. "We just don't pay attention."

Roberts is one resource available to students who want to take control of their health. As a doctoral student in nutrition, she helps students referred by the health clinic for medical issues or anyone seeking guidance.

"I see students, faculty and staff for any reason at all regarding their nutrition," Roberts said. "You don't have to have anything wrong with you."

Because her clients are unaware of exactly what they are eating each day, she has them record specifics of their diets.

"I have students tell me on a questionnaire that they eat vegetables five times a week," Roberts said. "But then they turn in a three-day dietary recall, which is only half the week, and there are no vegetables any day."

For students to live healthy lives in the future, it is important to take control of eating habits today.

"I try to do prevention, teaching and education so that they really can live healthy and successful lives here in college and further on," Roberts said.

There are also options for students who wish to take their well-being into their own hands. One way is to stock the refrigerator properly. Registered dietitian Rachel Beller from "Dr. Drew's Lifechangers," premiering this fall on the CW, lists on the show's website helpful items to keep on a dorm room grocery list, including cereal, salad bags, fruit and Greek yogurt.

Beller describes the advantages of a simple choice like Greek yogurt.

"With 130 calories a cup, this is a great option. It's full of protein and has zero fat and zero cholesterol, which makes it a friendly dairy option for weight loss," Beller said.

Researching helpful hints is another way college students in the dorm can tackle unhealthy on-campus choices.

"I think breakfast is my healthiest meal because I make it myself: eggs, cereal or yogurt with fruit," said Melisa Hardie, senior in exercise science. "I think it's the most important meal of the day."

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