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UAlbany Food Service Director Offers Health Eating Tips for Finals Week

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 10, 2006) -- The novel-length research papers, the hours of cramming and the unread textbook loom for many graduate and undergraduate students as they prepare to wrap up their studies for the semester during finals week. Many students develop poor eating habits as a way of coping with the stress and anxiety of test preparation, or simply as a means to stay awake to study longer.

Karen Kettlewell, Food Service Director at the University at Albany and a registered Dietician, offers the following simple tips and reminders for staying healthy and alert for students preparing for finals. Kettlewell presents ways to stay away from quick-fix junk food and learning to eat the foods that will help students remain focused and alert:

FACT: What you eat can be due to how you feel.
FACT: How you feel can often be a result of what you eat.

Be prepared to meet the stresses and challenges of exam week, by following these simple health tips:

  • Choose your comfort foods carefully.

    Enjoy the creamy flavor and texture of premium ice cream, by eating smaller portions or substituting frozen low-fat yogurt or fruit ices.

    Avoid overindulging by recognizing the correct portion sizes, eating slowly, and waiting 10 minutes before eating second helpings.
  • Choose low-fat protein and complex carbohydrates for meals and snacks.

    Complex carbohydrates include whole grain products, beans and vegetables. Carbohydrates will boost your serotonin levels, which has a calming effect. Complex carbohydrates will also increase the nutritional content of your diet.
    Keep it simple when selecting protein items. Choose unbreaded meat, poultry, or fish; skip the high fat sauces or gravies; substitute walnuts or pecans on salad instead of cheese or meat.
  • Space meals three to four hours apart.
  • Avoid the urge to eat to reduce stress. Instead, go for walk, talk to a friend or listen to relaxing music.
  • Moderate your caffeine intake. Generally, moderate amounts of caffeine cause no physical harm. But for some individuals, excessive caffeine can cause anxiety, insomnia, headaches or stomach irritation. Healthy beverage choices include water, decaffeinated tea or coffee, low-fat milk, and 100% fruit juice.

Karen Kettlewell is available for interviews and commentary. Contact the University at Albany's office of Media Relations at (518) 437-4980.


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