North Dakota State provides many health services to its students. Most who attend have access to three dining centers, four levels of exercise equipment and an on-campus clinic and pharmacy through Student Health Service.
The wellness and dining centers are great, but another valuable resource for health purposes is the on-campus registered dietitian, Alexis Christoffersen, who works with students who want to improve their diets through professional nutritional guidance.
Alexis enjoys educating students on the negative effects of unhealthy eating habits such as increased risks for developing heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.
“The way you treat your body now can determine what happens to it in the future,”Christoffersen said, which was one of the reasons she was drawn to a career in dietetics. She stated working with the student population is especially rewarding because she can see her advice impacting the habits they will carry with them throughout the rest of their life.
Part of Christoffersen’s job is to help students keep their bodies in a healthy condition by making changes in what food they consume on a day-to-day basis. A couple tips Christoffersen has for students who may want to avoid the dreaded “freshman 15” is to choose a diet incorporating fruits, gains, vegetables, protein and diary, controlling the amount of junk food and portions consumed with an unlimited meal plan.
Eating slowly is one of the keys to portion control. Christoffersen said, “It can take 20-30 minutes for the brain to realize that a person is full from the time you start eating” and eating at a steady rate will not only give it more time to digest, but will also let you enjoy your meal.
Although limiting the amount of food consumed is an essential rule of thumb, it is equally important to get enough energy and nutrients from the food eaten, which means choosing the right food and eating enough of it. Christoffersen stresses the importance of incorporating all of the food groups into your diets.
Of course, there are some things to avoid, like added sugars and excess sodium.
“It’s okay to have some of those foods in small quantities, occasionally. Enjoying the food we eat is especially important as long as we make sure to limit the amount of certain foods,” Christoffersen said. Balancing one’s diet with the recommended amount of food is what Christoffersen said a good diet is all about.
Christoffersen has a wide variety of information on daily nutrition and would love to see more students in her office seeking out advice. They say “you are what you eat” and, even though the body is composed of many other organs than the stomach, food is fuel and fuel keeps us moving and feeling happy.
Pay Christoffersen a visit at Student Health Service for more information regarding diets that prevent diseases and lead to a long and healthy life. Appointments can be scheduled with Alexis online through the Student Health Portal or by calling 701-231-7331.