As long as there are studies, there will be conflicting advice. A glass of wine is good for you as is a chocolate bar, however, don’t eat them on a day of the week with an A in it, and you will be ok.
However, the ‘Growing up in Ireland’ study looks specifically at the correlation between childhood obesity, lack of nourishment in children and the rising instances of children being declared overweight, in Ireland.
In its findings, it looked at the socio-economic relation between children’s nutritional balance and how the impact of fast or convenience foods can impact.
While this study does not encompass university students in this phase of the report, there can be little doubt that students living away from home for the first time, are too in danger of eating food which meets craving needs, but does little to sustain or offer nutritional balance.
Ashley Nolan, is a 3rd year Media student at DCU and worries about the nutritional value of the food she eats: “I come from a home where nutrition is a priority and I often feel that, on a student budget and schedule, it has been difficult to keep up eating healthily. I, like most students, juggle college and a part-time job. I also must include volunteering at a radio station for experience. I often need to eat on the go and find it hard to make good choices while out and about. Unfortunately, I also find that there is a lack of nutritional choices available at university.”
While research suggests that living in an area with fewer food outlets or fewer outlets selling affordable, high-quality food may lead to poorer dietary quality, students on a tight budget with convenience on tap have to be proactive to keep up with nutritional intake.
Studies show that over time, poor nutrition can be a defining factor in instances of consistent tiredness, irritability, stress, and it can contribute to developing life limiting health conditions in later life.
Nutrition is a vital component for brain power and getting good grades.
Convenience foods, fast food and food on the go, contribute to the bodies lack of nourishment, and while in some small measure these foods don’t do an abundance of harm, they certainly don’t help the body out.
Nutritionist Roisin Hall says: “Where possible bring a packed lunch, or time meals to your own timetable rather than the conventional times to eat.”
Ashley Nolan would agree: “I think most students consider their eating habits, but are often restricted both in terms of money and time. Microwaves on campus would allow us to prepare healthier meals in advance.”
The advice to students is to try and plan to eat a good clean meal at least once a day, that could be a hearty porridge breakfast of a dinner which includes protein, carbs and plenty of vegetables.
Orla O Driscoll