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Health Promotion

Eat Smart to Be Smart

Eating Strategies for Peak Brain Power

Adapted from the Harvard University Health Services website (2004) and The College Student’s Guide to Eating Well on Campus (2000) by Ann Selkowitz

Eat Breakfast
People who eat breakfast think better and faster, react quicker, remember more, and are mentally sharper and more creative than breakfast skippers.

Combine Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat
Carbohydrates are used for glucose (the only ‘fuel’ the brain uses) and serotonin levels; protein is used to increase tyrosine levels which produce the energizing neuro-transmitters dopamine and norepinephrine; and fat helps sustain blood sugar levels between meals.

Include Plenty of Fruits, Veggies & Whole Grains for Natural Antioxidants and B vitamins

Plan for Snack Attacks
Pack your favorite whole foods (such as fruits, nuts, cereal or yogurt) to provide energizing fuel in between meals — and don’t forget to drink lots of water! Other satisfying snack foods include: soup, oatmeal, baby carrots, popcorn, frozen fruit pops, English muffin, hard boiled egg, cottage cheese with fruit…and more!

Don’t Forget: Fats are Essential for Your Brain
Brain cells are comprised primarily of fat. Essential fatty acids like Omega-3-fats (found in salmon, nuts, soybean, canola oil) provide the building blocks for healthy brain cells.

Atkins…South Beach…Zone Diet…
Anything highly exclusive in one area is not as healthy—seek balance in your food choices!

What is "Normal Eating"?
Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it — not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint in your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad, or bored, or just because it feels good.

Normal eating is overeating at times: feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also under eating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life. In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in responses to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger, and your proximity to food. (Satter, Ellyn, R.D.)


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