Food for Thought: How Pros With a Certificate in Nutrition Help Students Eat HealthyMarch 20, 2018
There’s wisdom in the words “You are what you eat.” Fuelling a body with good food promotes better health, better emotional states, better cognition, and even better work output. After all, it’s easier to get through a consistent workload when you don’t need to deal with extreme rises and falls in blood sugar levels, something which is common when eating poorly.
For students who work hard to complete class work, learn new concepts and skills, and perhaps even maintain a job on the side, there is a tremendous amount of value to be had in eating healthily. Students may find this difficult, though, if they lack much knowledge of nutrition or have limited access to financial resources.
Fortunately, professionals trained in nutrition can help. Here’s how.
A Professional With a Certificate in Nutrition Could Help Clarify What Healthy Eating Is
Michael Pollan’s basic rules for healthy eating—”Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”—are famous and great advice, and probably understood by most students at a basic level. Just because students know the basics of a healthy diet doesn’t mean that they will know how to use them, though. What is too much? Does pizza sauce count as a plant? Would a diet of mostly sugary fruits be healthy? There are a surprising number of grey areas in nutrition, so it’s not unlikely that busy students might get confused and give up on planning their diet for optimal health.
A professional with a certificate in nutrition can help, thanks to their deep understanding of foods not just as they fall into broad categories, but as collections of nutrients the body needs. They might be able to contribute to student education programs around food, explaining to students with greater precision how to think about nutrition as it applies to food, or even provide some specific guidance about planning meals. With a bit of effort and attention, they could help deliver greater clarity about food to students.
Nutritionists Could Help Advise Nutrition Programs
Even when students understand nutrition at a deeper level, there can still be some obstacles to their making the best choices around food. A lunch program at their school, for instance, might offer access to unhealthy foods that prove too appetizing for some students to pass up, or snack machines on school grounds could contain snacks that seem healthy but have shocking levels of sugar.
Graduates of nutrition and health programs could find significant professional and personal meaning in helping students overcome these kinds of obstacles. In contributing their expertise to creating nutrition guidelines for schools, they might be able to help guide policies that prevent access to unhealthy dietary options on school grounds. Though these recommendations and actions may prove unpopular with some at the school, it is important to remember that it is the role of nutrition experts and school administrators to provide leadership in this important area. To complete a comprehensive nutrition and health program is to become the kind of informed and capable leader in this space that, ultimately, could allow students to enjoy a healthier lifestyle when eating at school.
Do you want to learn more about what nutrition experts can do?
Contact AAPS to learn about our nutritionist training in Ontario!