Wellness Program Offers Healthy Diet Alternatives To College Diet


The Wellness Program at Mercy College hosted an event this month to promote healthy eating and the effects that it can have on a person.

The mission of Wellness Programs at Mercy College is to create and sustain a healthy campus culture that supports student learning by educating, motivating, and empowering Mercy College students, faculty, and staff to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.

The event was a Food For Life program run by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The program is pleased to bring valuable, lifesaving nutrition information to the Mercy College community.

With having a very limited selection of pre-made healthy foods to buy with the typical meal plan, it can be very hard to stick to a specific diet.

Shianne Judson, a sophomore at Mercy College, has her own opinions about trying to eat healthy on campus. “There are healthy options to chose from, but when you eat the same salad every single day, its gets old and you begin to crave unhealthy food.”

Food For Life instructor Ann Parkin explained how a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes can enhance your health and support your wellness goals.

Parkin gave out many resourceful handouts explaining many different reasons why healthy eating is important. These handouts provided recipes for different meals as well as what portions of different foods people should be eating.

There was another handout that explained what the Physicians Committee does, how to become a member, and how doing so can benefit yourself and others as well.

“The handouts were very helpful. Not only do I have a ton of recipes that I can use, but I also learned a lot of what the Physicians Committee does and how hard they work to teach people like me how beneficial it is to eat healthy,” said Judson.

Parkin had explained that eating vegetarian or even better, vegan, could help your body function in ways that one never thought could.

“Following a vegetarian diet provides powerful tools for health such as having a healthy heart, combating low blood pressure, controlling diabetes, as well as preventing cancer,” said Parkin.

Although Parkin listed all of the great things that following this specific diet does to your overall health, the main focus of this event was how eating vegetarian or vegan can expedite weight loss.

Parkin brought in different supplies and materials that she used to physically make healthy vegan meals.

The first item she had made was a smoothie, but not a typical fruit smoothie. This smoothie had vegetables and fruit mixed together.

Parkin explained that it is so healthy to put vegetables in a smoothie, and many people don’t do it because they think it won’t taste good. The smoothie that she made had grapes, pineapple, water, and kale.

“At first when she was adding all of the ingredients into the blender, I did not want to try it because I thought is was going to be gross, but then my friend and I decided to try it, and we surprisingly loved it,” said Judson.

Parkin also made a kale salad, but not how one would typically make it. She had explained different types of kale and how each type of kale provides a different flavor and texture to the dish.

The kale was steamed in a pan mixed with four teaspoons of soy sauce. Judson was incredibly confused when she put the soy sauce on the kale. She explained that she had no idea what it was going to taste like.

“It was honestly one of the best dishes that I have ever eaten before and I am going to make it all of the time,” said Judson.

Lastly, Parkin made a vegan chili. She explained legumes provide more protein and less fat than meat can provide to a person. “By putting beans into your diet and taking out meat, you are maximizing your efforts in trying to lose weight,” said Parkin.

Parkin had also showed a video to the group of people at the event that explained why beans are healthier than meat. Yes, meat has a lot of protein in it, but it also has a lot of fat that almost counter acts the protein in the meat.

Beans, however, have very low fat and a lot of protein that is why more people should eat beans because one is getting more out of them.

“I like beans, but I was not really a fan of the chili. I would rather have meat in my chili because it has a different flavor that I like rather than the chili with the beans.”

Eating a vegan or vegetarian diet is a decision that has to be made progressively. You cannot just change you diet over night. That is why many people fail when it comes to making diet changes, because they go into it to fast, the experts say.

There may be some meals that you do not like in that diet and so people quit. By working your way into it and taking things slow to find alternatives to the things you many not like, it is easier to make the transition.

“I am not going to become a vegetarian or a vegan anytime soon, but I am definitely going to be adding some of the healthy recipes that Ann Parkin had shared at the event,” said Judson.

If anyone is interested in meeting Ann Parkin, or going to one of these events, The Wellness Program at Mercy College will be having her back the following dates:

Dobbs Ferry: April 29 at noon in Main Hall, Room 206: Intro to How Foods Fight Cancer

Bronx: April 23 at 1 p.m. in Room 3260: Intro to How Foods Fight Cancer

Manhattan: April 21 at noon in Room 648: Intro to How Foods Fight Cancer