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Nutrition club nukes poor eating habits in time for holidays

By Rachel Tannenbaum

Hiring a nutritionist to take along on a grocery shopping trip can cost up to $75 and an online counselor can cost around $50.

But a $30 annual membership fee gains students membership to the UNF Student Nutrition Club and access to much of the same information professional nutritionists offer.

And their help comes at just the right time. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, you may find yourself fretting about how giant holiday dinners followed by a buffet of desserts will affect your waist line.

Jackie Shank, UNF nutrition instructor and club adviser, believes it is important for students to be aware of nutrition because it affects the way they look and feel.

The club is working hard to help both students look and feel great by feeding them health-related knowledge, like simple nutrition tips, which students can easily incorporate into their lifestyles.

“We are hoping to provide information relevant to college students such as healthy and fast meals,” said Esther Finner, club president and UNF nutrition and dietetics senior. “We want to give awareness to the items typically consumed by students that they don’t realize are so unhealthy.”

Finney believes taking small steps is the best way to encourage people to change their eating habits.

“Usually we try to focus on one simple message, like try a new vegetable or stay away from trans fat,” Finney said.

Holly Gettemy, a UNF nutrition senior and club member, said meetings provide a healthy selection of foods like fruit, veggies, hummus, low-fat sandwiches and modified baked recipes like whole wheat breads and muffins.

Finney said she wants to spread this kind of healthy eating to the entire campus and is in the process of working with Student Government to help improve the food choices offered in other club and faculty meetings.

“We are trying to point out the healthy options for them, so they won’t have to hunt them out,” Finney said.

She is still in the early stages of discussion, but she hopes to see her plan go into effect while she is in office, which will be a challenge, considering Finney graduates in the spring.

Since its start in 2003, the club has expanded to include 50 members from all different majors. Students interested in nutrition are welcome to join. For more information, contact President Esther Finney at [email protected]

Quick tips from the UNF Student Nutrition Club president

Be more aware of portion sizes:

When you order food at a restaurant, put half the serving in a to-go box to save money and remove the temptation to overeat.

Turn holiday sweets into friendly treats:

Replace fatty baking products like oil or butter with healthy baking ingredients such as baby food and apple sauce. Most mixes provide an alternative lower fat recipe on the box.

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