When it comes to eating, Health and Nutrition Educator Cheryl Brock wants to help Bryant students become the healthiest versions of themselves.
“When students come to campus, they seek guidance in figuring out what to eat, when to eat, and how these decisions impact their academic success, athletic performance, and overall health,” says Brock, who’s been a registered dietician for over 20 years.
Brock regularly meets one-on-one with students to assist them in achieving specific goals and answering nutrition-based questions. When she’s not helping them navigate meal options, she’ll host group workshops, nutrition education sessions, and table events across campus.
As a former Division 1 athlete and current parent of two children in college, Brock knows what it’s like to fuel your body as an athlete and, as a parent, hope your children maintain healthy eating habits away from home. She says for many students the transition from home to college life presents a sudden change in lifestyle, increased levels of stress, and a new social environment that can cause significant changes in eating routines.
“Developing the foundation of healthy eating habits now can help students build a healthy relationship with food for the long term,” Brock says.
Fuel up to feel your best
For the general student, Brock recommends following the MyPlate nutrition guide where half of a person’s plate consists of fruits and vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter grains. College students may put nutrition by the wayside because they’re busy with academics and clubs, so when individuals visit Brock because they’re tired or run down, she says a lot of times, they are skipping opportunities to fuel their bodies.
Brock encourages students to start the day with breakfast — a meal that is frequently skipped. For those who don’t have time to visit the dining hall in the morning, she recommends keeping grab-and-go items in the dorm. These breakfast options include yogurt and fruit, bananas, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
“Breakfast is important because you’ve gone all night fasting, and it’s an opportunity for your body and brain to get energy to focus and absorb the information you’re going to class for,” Brock says.
She notes that meal portions vary for student-athletes. Based on their body’s needs and schedules, carbohydrates are their primary source of energy. In season, they should have a half plate of grains, quarter plate of fruits and vegetables, and quarter plate of protein.
“With athletes, we talk about the importance of proper fueling and hydration throughout the day, which is an extension of their training,” Brock says.
Additionally, upper division students living in the university’s townhouses have access to a kitchen and may opt to cook for themselves. Brock often helps these students with recipes, meal prepping, and locating food discounts through the Stop and Shop card or Target’s Circle app.
According to Brock, a person doesn’t want to go longer than two to three hours without something to eat, which means incorporating three meals a day and one or two snacks. Snack ideas include air popped popcorn, granola bars, apples, smoothies, trail mix, rolled up turkey and cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt with fruit and granola, or string cheese with fruit.
Bite-sized tips to snack on
While it’s important to follow MyPlate portions, Brock leaves students with three additional tips to assist them with healthy eating.
1. Get enough sleep: A student’s sleep schedule impacts hunger hormones. People who are tired will gravitate toward high-sugar items that will give them a quick energy fix but cause them to crash and burn.
2. Listen to hunger cues: Just because the dining hall offers unlimited food doesn’t mean individuals should overindulge. Students should remain mindful of eating because they’re hungry versus eating because there is food available.
3. Stay active: Stress impacts a student’s eating, so using exercise to manage this tension can be helpful. Movement is great for the mind and body, so take a workout class at the Chace Wellness and Fitness Center or enjoy walking around campus.
Students who have nutrition questions or would like to schedule a consultation with Brock can contact her at email@example.com or call 401-232-6221.