Nutrition Resources and InformationFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Where can I see nutrition information for University Housing dining venues?
Anyone can go online or download a mobile app for detailed nutritional, ingredient and allergen information for foods served in the dining venues of University Housing: Carson Dining, Barnhart Dining, Fire ‘N’ Spice Grill, Big Mouth Burrito, Grab ‘N’ Go Marketplace, Common Grounds Café and DUX Bistro. The site uoregon.MyNutritionCalculator.net allows users to select the type of meal, restaurant location and a host of food options to see nutritional content like calories, fat grams, sodium, vitamins, and nutritional allowances. Users can also search for food allergens (dairy, nuts, soy, etc.) or for vegan and vegetarian foods, and look for foods within certain ranges of nutritional content (i.e. low in sugar, high in protein, high in iron, etc.). A free mobile app of the service for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch is available from Apple by looking up “Oregon nutrition” in the App Store. University Housing expects to develop versions for other mobile platforms in the future.2. What are "Superfoods"?
"Superfoods" refer to a variety of different foods that are nutritional powerhouses high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals while still being low in calories and fat. They are also known as nutrient dense foods. The claims about these foods made by food marketing professionals and in popular books tend to create the impression that if you eat these foods, you will be spared cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. The truth to the matter is, they are healthy for you, and you should consume them regularly, but just by eating those foods doesn't mean you are immune to disease, or that you should ignore other foods. The key here is to consume "whole foods" that deliver many nutrients. Some examples of superfoods include; beans, blueberries, dark chocolate, oats, yogurt, walnuts, yams and sweet potatoes, spinach, kiwis, apples, avocados, turkey, salmon, broccoli, and tomatoes. Many of these foods are offered regularly at the dining venues here on campus.3. What are Trans fats?
Trans fats are formed when liquid vegetable oils are artificially processed (hydrogenation) into solid or semi-solid form, such as margarine. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods, yet you have to remember these fats were created as a benefit to the food manufacturers, not the health of consumers. Trans fat can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. A small amount of trans fat is found naturally, primarily in some animal-based foods. We have learned over the years that trans fat raises LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and lowers the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) which in turn increases your risk for coronary heart disease. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and eat as little saturated fat as possible.4. What is the Freshmen 15?
The freshmen 15 refers to the notorious weight gain that often occurs within the first year of college. Making the transition from home to college is a dramatic shift of environment and circumstances. Dining hall food alone is never the cause of weight gain for the majority of people. All you can eat dining venues (and you regularly take all you can eat), late night eating, alcohol intake, meal skipping, sleep deprivation, and inconsistent exercise are most certainly to blame. Try to eat every 3-4 hours, pay strict attention to portion control, don't engage in mindless eating, and limit the amount of sweets you eat. When you think you are hungry, ask yourself if your tummy is rumbling or your head just wants chips. It is about the "how much how often". Base your diet on whole fruit and vegetables, lean proteins like chicken breast and beans, low fat dairy, whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat bread, and limit soda, candy and desserts. Stock your dorm room with healthy snacks such as fruit and string cheese, veggies, small portions of nuts, yogurt, and lots of water. The truth is that most people don't gain the freshmen 15. But the possibility does exist if you eat mindlessly and don't take care of yourself.
5. Is food preoccupation different than an eating disorder?
Yes and no. Most individuals with disordered eating are preoccupied with food thoughts, but just because someone is preoccupied with food thoughts doesn't mean s/he has an eating disorder. On any given day, one out of every two students is on a diet, and an estimated 20-30% of students have some type of diagnosable eating disorder. A survey of college-age women found 75% classify themselves as overweight, even though most are within a healthy weight range. Weight, body image, and food preoccupation have unfortunately become a way of life for this generation. Full blown eating disorders ranging from anorexia, bulimia, compulsive exercise, and binge eating disorder are serious disorders for one's physical and mental health. The University Health, Counseling and Testing Center offers group and individual counseling for disordered eating, medical exams, and nutritional education to deal with these issues.6. How do I navigate the food line when eating at Carson or Barnhart?
Great question! Ask yourself this... if you were at home or had your own apartment, what would you eat and/or how much food would you prepare yourself? I recommend students take only one plate through the food line, period. No seconds, no separate plate for fruit, dessert or grains. Portion control is the key when traveling through the buffet line. Secondly, I recommend you have some empty space on your plate between food choices. Also, try to get 3-4 different food groups at your meal if possible, which it is at Carson and Barnhart. The more colorful the plate, the better.
Here are a few smart-eating strategies to help you navigate the food line:
Numerous studies have pointed to the fact that a plant based diet is preventative for various cancers, heart disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, diverticulosis, and aids in weight loss. Unfortunately, many people opt for a "meatless" diet which is different than one based on the principles of vegetarianism consisting of legumes, whole fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil and nuts. The sheer act of eliminating meat, fish, and chicken isn't necessarily health promoting if you don't replace those great sources of iron, protein, and B vitamins with meatless options such as tofu, tempeh, beans or legumes, eggs, yogurt and/or milk. If you eliminate meat, fish, and chicken and eat an abundance of cheese, chips, and snack crackers, you aren't any healthier either. Variety and balance are crucial when trying to get the most out of a vegetarian diet.
8. Is it better to eat three meals or to snack throughout the day?
Healthful snacking can help you meet your body's needs, give you energy during the day, and help you maintain a desirable weight. For many college students, grazing throughout the day is the only way they can get in any food. If that works for you because of a busy schedule or because you simply don't like larger meals, it can be done healthfully. It depends on how many calories and what foods you eat. The way you approach snacking can make a difference, too. Here are some strategies:
9. With all the health and nutrition information that consumers continually get thrown at them, how is it possible to distinguish between accurate, factual information and the hype?
Many of the unbelievable claims are just that---unbelievable. Unfortunately, many people want the quick fix and are eager to buy into the idea that a particular product will give the very answer they are looking for. You can protect yourself by watching for these common characteristics of quackery:
Also, invest your time before you invest your money. Before buying a suspect product or treatment, find out more about it. Check with one or more of the following: your doctor, pharmacist, or other credentialed health professional.10. I crave food all the time, regardless of my hunger level. I don't have an eating disorder, just find I feel like eating all the time. Why does eating one cookie from Grab 'n' Go set off an incredible urge to finish an entire bag?
There are many possible reasons for food cravings, such as true hunger because you have skipped meals, boredom, habit, stress, sadness, happiness, social situations, or you may use food as a distraction. Food cravings are normal and experienced by most people at one time or another. Look at cravings as suggestions to eat, not overindulge, because you ultimately control how you will react. Practice moderation, not abstinence and restriction. If you never allow yourself to have foods you enjoy, you'll only crave them more. If you find that the idea of food cravings are interfering with your life or you find them troublesome, try to weaken them with the "five Ds":
11. What is the difference between the words "enriched" and "fortified"?
Both terms indicate that nutrients, usually vitamins and minerals, were added to make a food more nutritious. Enriched means adding back nutrients that were lost during food processing. For example, B vitamins, lost when wheat is refined, are added back to white flour. Fortified means adding nutrients that weren't present originally. For example, milk is fortified with Vitamin D, a nutrient that helps your body absorb the calcium and phosphorus in milk.