Third level students are warned about their diets

WITH THIRD LEVEL COLLEGES welcoming students back through their doors for another academic year, student nutrition has come under the microscope.

A recent survey by the Nutrition and Health Foundation (NHF) has found that half of all students expect to gain or have gained weight when they started college. The research also showed that 75 per cent of students eat a more nutritionally balanced diet while living at home and that 60 per cent assign more importance to cost of food rather than its nutritional value.

Dr. Muireann Cullen, Dietitian and manager of the NHF, has been horrified by these findings.

‘It is alarming to see such strong focus on food cost over nutrition, such low levels of physical activity and such high levels of actual or expected weight gain amongst this segment of the population,’ said Dr. Cullen.

The NHF has teamed up with top chef Kevin Dundon to encourage students to take on a healthier diet. Kevin has devised ten nutritionally balanced and budgetfriendly recipes that include easy to make dishes like Thai pasta salad, Irish stew and potato and thyme soup.

‘No matter what our lives are like, small positive changes can be made,’ said Kevin. ‘ I have devised these recipes specifically for budget-conscious students and time-conscious families. They are straight forward to cook, nutritionally balanced and delicious.

‘Developing healthy eating habits is simpler and easier than you might think and you will look and feel better,’ he added.

Among the other worrying findings uncovered in the NHF study was the fact that 21 per cent of students have just two meals a day; 21 per cent also said that the majority of their meals were fast food or convenience food; and three in five students do not eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

Download Kevin Dundon’s recipes at www.nhfireland.ie where there are also lots of tips on smart shopping for the budget-conscious.

 

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