OPINION: Eating healthy key to living better lifestyle

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When anyone talks about American style food, the first thing that comes to mind might be the ungodly size of both food and drinks. Food portions are different around the world. On top of large portion sizes, our generation moves quickly, which results in more and more people eating fast food. Students should be aware that eating fast food is not a solution to save time. While we want to focus on finals as much as we possibly can, eating something because it’s quick is not the answer.

Sonia Gaskin, junior in social science and an international student from Barbados, said she was shocked by the size of the food portions in the U.S.

“When you order a drink at the restaurant and ask for the big size, they give you the cup that can be enough for at least three people,” Gaskin said.

She said she was shocked by one of her first food orders in the U.S. She wanted a small lemonade and got a lot more than she bargained for.

“For people here, bigger is better,” Gaskin said.

According to a Rick Steve’s Europe article titled, “A matter of taste: Europeans on American Food,” size matters more than quality in the U.S. The average number of ingredients in an American restaurant salad or pasta is eight or 10, while in Italy the average salad or pasta has only four or five ingredients. Europeans don’t understand American’s love for heavily flavored salad dressings.

There is no need for heavy dressing in salads. Some other alternatives include adding tomatoes, using lemon juice or even something as simple as adding salt would make a salad just a tasty and a lot better for you. In Europe, it is common for people to just use oil and vinegar for salad dressings.

Roberto, an Italian from Tuscany, said in the article that if you go to an American restaurant and say the food is bad, you get a coupon for a free meal. If you say the food is bad in a restaurant in Italy, you get kicked out.

I am from Europe, and it is very different because people there, in general, don’t look for “fancy looking food” in large portions but for good quality and taste. I share the opinion with many others over the ocean that good places to eat are the ones that don’t chase their customers and don’t try to convince anyone that their food is good.

Eating late is another issue here. According to a May 17, 2012 Daily Mail article titled “Why those nighttime snacks are bad for us: Eating late DOES make you fat even if you have the same number of calories,” studies suggest that you may gain weight if you eat whenever you want, regardless if you eat less calories.

Satchidananda Panda, of the Salk Intitute for Biological Studies in California said in the article that the liver, intestines and muscles are at peak efficiency at certain times of day, while at other times they are “sleeping.”

Marie Taylor, sophomore in pre-professional secondary education, said it has been a huge pain to not have enough time to eat dinner when people normally eat.

“My art education classes are long,” Taylor said. “One is three hours long and finishes at 8:30 p.m. Eating before the class might look as an option, but that is too early for a dinner.”

She said that being tired from class and being in a hurry doesn’t give her any time to prepare healthy food.

“Most of the time, I end up with having pizza or a sandwich around 9 p.m.,” Taylor said. “That is not good for your health.”

Taylor is just another student whose busy schedule results in bad eating habits. Many students have only 10 minutes between classes, resulting in a missed breakfast or lunch. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it is not healthy to eat late, either. Not to mention that the different types of food we eat can either help or hurt our health.

We should be promoting quality over quantity. Our society is programmed and raised to think bigger is better, which isn’t always the case, especially in regards to students’ health. Finals are difficult, but don’t let the lure of eating a fast meal overtake the need to be healthy in order to get good grades.

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