10/26/16: Eat Smart: Nutritional Workshop

Today, we had the pleasure of participating in an educational talk about nutrition with members of the UMass food science department. Their presentation was highly educational and informative! First, they asked everyone in the room to list some challenges that they have in eating healthy food. Some challenges that were listed included time, money, lack of access to a refrigerator and/or kitchen, making the right choices in an abundance of food, sugar, and health issues. Next, the students gave us some advice on how to stay healthy in an easy way. 

They recommended drinking green tea for its’ weight-loss-promoting and anti-carcinogenic properties, although they cautioned against drinking it before bed. Snacks that they said were more beneficial to eat before bed included dairy products or something with a lot of protein, although they specified that one should not eat for two hours before sleeping. Next, they recommended eating vegetables like kale, cabbage, and spinach (cruciferous vegetables), because they help prevent cancer. They explained that the best way to cook vegetables like this is to steam them, and that after steaming to get the most nutrients, one can boil rice or another grain in the liquid that remains after steaming. The students also recommended that if a person has any health issues, they should try to avoid food additives.

After this, the students spoke about what experts believe is the best way to eat. They explained that the best way to stay healthy is to eat a mostly plant-based diet. They gave the example of the “Mediterranean Diet”, which is a diet based on a food pyramid where the base contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs, and spices, the second level contains fish and seafood, the third level contains poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt, and the final level contains meats and sweets. However, the students stated that this is only one example of a healthy diet, and that the most important thing is that a person’s diet is plant-based.

This meeting was incredibly informational, and had a huge turnout! Everyone who attended had many questions for the presenters, who answered them knowledgeably. We all learned a great amount on how to eat healthier. ACC would like to thank UMass food science for coming in and teaching us so much!