H.A.W.K.S. Peer Health Educators

Guest Column

This November, the H.A.W.K.S. Peer Health Educators are using various outreach platforms to promote “Nutrition November.” The goal is to educate students on the benefits of healthy eating through mindful and convenience eating tactics.  Nutrition has a significant impact on one’s overall mood and happiness. In the long term, it can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, some types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.  

Health Advocates for Wellness Knowledge and Skills (H.A.W.K.S.) are student leaders  on campus with specialized training in wellness and health education. Our mission is to actively engage students to consider important issues by presenting factual, relevant information that encourages them to honestly, realistically and thoroughly reflect on their lifestyle and to help them make healthy choices.

Although stress is a part of life and may seem more prevalent in college, it is always important to know how to take care of your body.  When one eats healthy foods, they feel charged mentally and physically which can be advantageous during those long nights of studying.  These healthy eating habits provide a lifetime of benefits  which goes to show why nutrition education is so vital on campuses.

You may have seen H.A.W.K.S. advertising Nutrition November with our instagram posts (@hawkshealthzone) throughout the month of November.  These posts feature members dressed up as various winter fruits and vegetables, including sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and avocados.

These posts highlight various fruits and vegetables and corresponding nutritional facts about each food and emphasize the recommended 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. Overall intake should add up to 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables combined, but these recommendations vary based on gender, age and physical activity. The amounts also vary depending on the type of fruit or vegetable consumed. One serving is equivalent to one cup of raw or cooked vegetables, vegetable juice, or two cups of leafy greens. It is also equivalent to one cup of fruit or natural fruit juice or ½ cup of dried fruit.

The H.A.W.K.S. also promote discussion and hand out informational flyers in Armstrong and on campus about healthy food choices during the holidays. Topics include mindful eating during the holidays and convenience eating.

Mindful eating is the use of one’s senses to choose nourishing and satisfying foods as well as paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

Convenience eating is consuming foods that are easily accessible and easy to prepare.  Foods like this include pizza, pasta, cookies, chips and microwaveable dinners – all of which tend to be higher in calories, fats, sugars and processed ingredients. Eating these foods is a common habit to adopt when living in a residence hall. You’re short on time, or don’t care for cooking.  

Students can avoid unhealthy options while still finding convenience in their choices.  Fruits and vegetables are easily accessible, do not require much preparation and are good for you! Canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are a healthy alternative and can be easily incorporated into a meal.

Additionally, grab-and-go fruits such as apples and bananas make for a healthy snack option in a hurry. Dining halls offer healthy meals and side options such as salad bars and a variety of fruits and yogurt. Miami also offers a website called MyTray Nutrition that allows students to get specific nutrition information about the foods offered on campus.

Written by: Shannon Johnston, Taylor Martin, Colleen McNulty, Darcey Murphy, Kristen Pleasant, Anna Reece, Zach Sattle, Sydney Stacy

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