In conjunction with CU's dining halls, we hope to encourage healthy eating through a year-long project. This project will feature different messages and information about food and eating, especially as it relates to CU's dining halls on campus.

Balance is...

...building a colorful plate.
...eating when hungry and stopping when full.
...mixing up food types.
...checking out different options in the dining hall
...eating five or six meals a day.
...thinking beyond one meal.
...incorporating whole grains into your meal
...treating yourself to dessert!
...body, mind, and spirit.

Balance is building a colorful plate.

Variety is an essential component to eating healthfully. Sprucing up your plate by adding colorful foods not only makes the food look more appetizing, it also provides essential nutrients unique to certain colors of foods.

Read “Eat to Excel” to learn more about some health benefits provided by different colors of produce.

Balance is eating when hungry and stopping when full.

“Honor your Hunger: Keep your body fed biologically with adequate energy... Otherwise, you can trigger a primal drive to [eat more than is comfortable]. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for [healthy eating habits].”

Some signs your body might be hungry: headache, irritability, poor concentration, feeling weak, growling stomach, etc.

“Feel your Fullness: Listen for the body signals that tell you you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current fullness level is.”

Some signs your body is full: Food may start to lose taste, you feel satisfied, hunger pains have gone away, you no longer feel hungry-even if you still want to eat.

Balance is mixing up food types.

In order for our bodies to perform optimally, we need all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) in our diet. Many different representations of how nutritional needs should be met are available (see MyPlate below).

By eating grains (whole grains when possible), fruits and vegetables, and protein on a consistent basis, we will find optimal energy levels and health benefits. It is important not to restrict entire food groups like some diets might suggest.  Every food group provides our bodies with different elements of health, and it is the combination of these groups that is most nourishing.

Source: Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A Intuitive Eating (pg 21-24)

Balance is checking out options at different stations within the dining hall.

In every dining hall there are many different stations to choose from. This allows for a lot of creativity when building your plate, it eliminates boredom and keeps your taste buds happy.  Rice and vegetables are a few items that can be found at several different stations, each with their own unique seasoning or cooking style. Fruits and vegetables do not always have to come from the salad bar- there are plenty of other options e.g., sautéed vegetables at the Italian Cibo station, vegetable kabobs at the Persian Ghaza station and unique salsas and roasted veggies at the Latin Comida station. You might be surprised by something new!

Check out the stations currently available at the C4C dining hall!

Balance is eating five to six smaller meals a day.

The best way to keep your blood sugar levels even, avoid hunger, and keep your energy consistent, is to incorporate more meals into your day. Long gone is the three-meal-a-day plan. Now we try to eat five or six meals a day. Typically this means the meals will be smaller (because we are less hungry eating more often). This is healthy for us for many reasons: it optimizes our energy levels, eliminates gnawing hunger, allows for a larger variety of foods, and keeps our metabolism running at an efficient and steady pace.

[Back to top]

Balance is thinking beyond one meal. In one week are you meeting your nutritional needs?

“Most nutritional recommendations are intended to be an average over time, not for a single meal or a single day, and with good reason. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency if you did not eat enough in one day. Similarly, you will not make or break your health from one meal or even one day of eating. It is consistency over time that matters.”

Even if you use MyPlate as a guide for your typical meals, inevitably, there will be times when these ratios are not met- either because of what is available, or what sounds good at the time.  Don’t stress about this, just keep in mind that if you shoot for the ratio most of the time, your health will be positively impacted.

Source: Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A Intuitive Eating (pg 196)

Balance is incorporating whole grains into your meals.

Substituting whole grains when possible has great health benefits. Whole grains have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than their refined counterparts. The average American does not meet even half of the daily recommendations for fiber.  Fiber helps keep food moving along the digestive tract.  There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble.  Insoluble fiber, which can be found in whole-wheat products, plays a big role in preventing some types of cancer.  Soluble fiber, which is found in oats, helps lower blood cholesterol levels as well as keeps blood sugar levels steady.  Both types of fiber are important; another reason why variety in your diet is so healthy!

Source: Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A Intuitive Eating (pg 198)

Balance is treating yourself to dessert!

Deprivation is one of the worst things you can do for your health. By labeling foods as “good” and “bad,” and resisting the “bad” foods at all costs, can cause intense cravings and dissatisfaction. Instead, it is important to treat your body to foods that satisfy you as well as fuel you for your daily activities. As you eat, keep in mind how the food makes you feel, and only eat as much as feels good. With this approach, it is very healthy to enjoy yummy foods. In the end, you will hopefully find that you are more satisfied with your food.   Eating should be healthful and pleasurable, and treating your body the best you can is a very rewarding feeling.

Balance is mind, body, spirit.

Optimal health is achieved by incorporating balance in our everyday lives. This includes physical health, as well as spiritual and mental health.  All of these factors contribute to overall health. Sometimes when we are tired we reach for sugary foods to help wake us up. Instead, it might be healthier to honor our body’s need for sleep, and get some rest.

If stress is causing eating habits to be out of balance, it can be very helpful to exercise.  This will release endorphins into the bloodstream, to make us feel happier and less stressed.  Finding emotional outlets can eliminate the desire to eat for comfort. Maintaining a balance in the body, mind and spirit is the recipe for a healthy you!

[Back to top]