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Tara Sanders–Energy Balance

Posted March 10th, 2010 by Allyson

Over the last month at the Wellness RoundTable Series in UHDS dining centers we have been talking about “energy balance” and choosing foods that are “nutrient dense”.

What does all of this mean?

Energy balance means balancing the calories you take in with the calories you burn.  In general, a moderately active male (age 18-25) needs about 2800 calories to maintain balance, and a moderately active female (age 19-25) needs 2200 calories.   Surprisingly, calories can add up quickly and although the lore of the “Freshman Fifteen” is more myth than fact, on average, college freshman gain 4 pounds during the first year due to “energy imbalance”….calories taken in are MORE than calories burned.

For some, this may be the first time you are completely responsible for your own meal planning and you may struggle navigating towards choices that meet your needs.  To help you to make balanced choices, UHDS has online menus available with nutrition information, ingredient and allergy information.  Additionally, calorie information is posted on Calabaloos menu boards and all soup labels in the dining centers.

UHDS dining centers have a myriad of “nutrient dense” options; that is, options that pack a lot of nutrition with fewer calories such as fruits and vegetables available on salad bars, fruit carts and grab and go areas.  There are many lean protein and dairy options such as grilled chicken, lean turkey, beans, and lowfat milk, cheeses and soy based products as well as whole grain options such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread and rolls available in all dining centers.

Additionally, the dining centers have options that are “energy dense”; they pack a lot of calories and they may be “empty calories” such as sugary soda, candy bars and chips.  While these are often perceived as unhealthy options, it is about balance and these options should be considered a “sometimes choice” rather than a daily choice.

Curious about your energy needs and ways to make your diet more “nutrient dense”? Find out more at website.

We will be resuming the Wellness Rountable Series in the Dining Centers on April 13th!  We look forward to seeing you there!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any comments, questions or concerns regarding nutrition and wellness in our dining centers.

Best of luck on finals and have a wonderful and relaxing Spring Break.

Be Well,

Tara Sanders

Registered Dietitian

Oregon State University

University Housing and Dining

Office: 541-737-3915

Cell: 541-602-9736

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