A Cupcake a Day, Keeps the Doctor Away?
By: April C. Thornton
Bowie State University, senior Robyn Green has always made her studies a top priority, while putting her unhealthy eating habits on the backburner. Just like any other college student, Green’s school schedule keeps her life busy. Her eating habits consist of skipping breakfast and consuming fast food or items out of the vending machine in-between her classes and studies. It is often difficult to eat well with little time and even less money. Just like Green, majority of African American college students have extremely unhealthy eating habits.
We are attentive to our hectic school schedule, but we neglect to provide the proper nourishment for our bodies. Between studying for upcoming exams and continuous involvement in extracurricular activities, our food consumption may consist of a bag of Doritos with a Hawaiian Punch or a greasy burger from McDonalds. We invest endless amount of money in our unhealthy cravings. Since junk food is convenient and seemingly inexpensive, we find ourselves indulging in junk food heaven even more. For now we are content on how well we perform in school and in life, but we are ignoring the consequences that come with poor eating habits.
Have you taken a glimpse at the African American community lately? Not only are we struggling with obesity, but diseases such as Diabetes, Pulmonary Hypertension, High Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease are prevalent in our community. People in the community refuse to believe we are slowly killing ourselves with the very foods we grew up eating, ‘Soul Food.’ You know! Every Sunday the family would gather around the table and eat the recipes that have been passed down from generations. We fill our plates with mixed collard greens, honey baked ham, macaroni and cheese, fat back and the sweetest ice tea. The traditionally preparation of soul food meals are high in fat, sodium, calories and cholesterol. Even though soul food tastes so delightful, it is unhealthy and increases health issues in the black community.
There are several alternatives students can use to improve our unhealthy eating habits, such as substituting and minimizing fat, salt, sugar, oil and cholesterol in our diet. Doctor’s constantly stress the importance of eating three meals a day and majority of students still skip the first meal. Since we are always in motion, we can simply grab a granola bar, fruit, yogurt or sit down and enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Remember breakfast provides energy that can increase concentration level and help students have a productive morning. In-between classes we can eat a healthy snack, such as no trans-fat kettle brand potato chips, almonds or carrots to fill that void of hunger. When we feel like going on a fast food venture, try Panera Bread, Noddle’s and Company and other restaurants that have healthy dishes on their menu. We do not have to change the way we eat completely, but we can improve or daily intake.
By April C. Thornton