Nutrition

The Nutrition Program for students at MSU is focused on supporting all people within our campus community to achieve eating competence. The work we do in nutrition counseling sessions, outreach programming, and health communication promotes a non-diet approach using the eating competence model and a weight-inclusive approach to support health.

The Nutrition Program provides services guided by a belief that students are capable of making wise, well-informed decisions about nutrition when provided the information, education, and support necessary to do so.

  • Nutrition Counseling Appointments

    Nutrition counseling appointments are available to MSU students through the Student Health & Wellness Health Promotion Department. These confidential appointments with a registered dietitian are tailored to meet personal health needs through an individualized, collaborative approach. Students can receive support for a wide variety of nutrition concerns that may include:

    • Eating well with limited time and money
    • Managing nutrition-related health issues
    • Refueling for optimal sports performance
    • Managing weight and body image concerns
    • Normalizing disordered eating behaviors
    • Mindful eating practices
    • Navigating the MSU dining halls*
    • Getting adequate nutrients as a vegetarian or vegan

    How do I schedule a nutrition appointment?

    The best way to make a nutrition appointment is to call the Student Health & Wellness scheduling office at 517.353.4660. If a provider at Student Health & Wellness has made a referral, you will be contacted to schedule that appointment for a time that is convenient for you.

    What should I expect?

    Appointments are scheduled for 60 minutes. During the initial appointment, information will be gathered to assess health status and nourishment needs. Please bring a list of any nutrition supplements you are currently taking. There will also be time to discuss any concerns or questions you may have with the dietitian.

    The recommendations and nutrition education you will receive is based on a weight-inclusive approach to normalize eating and enhance health.

    Where do I go?

    The Health Promotion department is located on the 3rd floor of the Student Services building at 556 East Circle Drive. Check-in for nutrition appointments is in room 345.

    Is there a cost?

    For MSU students there is no fee for nutrition appointments.

    *If you have a meal plan and have food allergies or intolerances, or need to follow a special diet, email Gina Keilen, RD, Culinary Coordinator for Culinary Services for additional resources and information.

  • Peer Body Project
    Full length mirrorWhen you look in the mirror, what do you see?

    Join a free, interactive workshop to help challenge cultural standards of female beauty and improve body acceptance.

    WHO: Groups are open to MSU undergraduate students with body image concerns who are affected by feminine standards of beauty.

    WHAT: The PEER BODY PROJECT, Fall 2020

    WHEN: Group sessions start the week of September 28, 2020. Each group meets for one hour each week for four consecutive weeks:
    • Mondays at 6 pm (Sept 28, Oct 5, 12, and 19)
    • Tuesdays at 6 pm (Sept 29, Oct 6, 13, and 20)
    • Wednesdays at 6 pm (Sept 30, Oct 7, 14, and 21)


    WHERE: Wherever you have internet access and are comfortable! All groups will be meeting virtually via Zoom.

    WHY: Learn ways to promote and practice body acceptance by engaging in small group discussions of 6-8 peers led by trained peer facilitators, and by completing enlightening and empowering activities each week.

    Bonus: Earn a $10 gift card for completing the program!

    HOW: Register HERE by September 25.

    QUESTIONS: Contact Karen Giles-Smith, MS, RDN at gilessmith@msu.edu

  • Our Approach to Eating Well

    We live in a time when food, eating, and how we feel about our bodies has become incredibly complicated and interconnected. Myths and misinformation abound. What is important to remember and focus on is that how we eat over time is far more important than what we eat at a single meal. If we build a positive relationship with food and our bodies, eating will become more intuitive, healthful, and, even more fun!

    Nutrition, by definition, is "The act or process of nourishing or being nourished; specifically: the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances" (Merriam-Webster).

    If you include the definitions of two terms often associated with nutrition:
    1. Healthy: enjoying health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit; conducive to health
    2. Balance: a means of judging or deciding; physical equilibrium

    These definitions seem positive. They make food and eating appear to be fun and enjoyable. Shouldn't we feel good about nurturing our bodies, feeding our minds, and choosing enjoyable foods that help us do so? It would seem so!

    What is missing, however, is the incorporation and understanding of the psychology of eating: why we eat the foods we do, in the way we do. And it is the psychology, the feelings, emotions, and thoughts that often drive us in our behavior and relationship with and around food.

     

  • Eating Competence

    The Satter Eating Competence Model is an evidence-based, non-diet approach to achieve good nutrition and support health.

    Eating competence emphasizes trust with eating. A competent eater is positive, comfortable, and flexible with eating, and reliable about getting enough to eat of enjoyable and nourishing food.

    Are YOU a competent eater?

    • Do you take time to have regular meals and snacks and pay attention while you eat?
    • Do you feel good about food and eating and comfortable with your enjoyment of food?
    • Do you eat a variety of food and enjoy learning to eat new foods?
    • Do you trust yourself to eat enough for you?

    Achieving good nutrition and developing a positive relationship with food is possible.

    Nutrition...

    ...is not about one food group over another.
    ...is not about eliminating whole food groups from your diet.
    ...is not about counting numbers (as in calories, fat grams or points).
    ...is about internal balance, which includes ALL foods and food groups. 
    ...is trusting yourself (or learning how to) in terms of recognizing what and how much you need.
    ...is giving yourself permission to eat.

    Eating in this manner supports health and well-being.

    Normal Eating

    Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose the 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 give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. 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 mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating 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 response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

    Copyright © 2012 by Ellyn Satter.

  • Eating Concerns & Eating Disorders

    Food can easily become a source of stress and concern, especially when we attempt to resolve cultural messages that urge us both to achieve the “perfect” body AND to consume food mindlessly. Misinformation is constantly saturating our culture about nutrition and ‘healthy eating’. The reality is there is no one solution when it comes to good nutrition, and no foods are ‘bad’ foods.

    To successfully achieve a healthy body, you must first accept your natural body type, enjoy moderate physical activity, and eat a balanced diet. Most importantly, food can be such a wonderful thing! It can bring friends and family together, symbolize traditions and fond memories, and remind people of home. Remember that food and eating are supposed to be pleasurable.

    Eating Disorders

    Living in our culture, it's not surprising if you feel you have to look a certain way to be happy or healthy. You may think that dieting is a normal or even a necessary part of life. However, constant concern about body weight and shape, fat grams and calories can start a vicious cycle of body dissatisfaction and obsession that can take a toll on your mental, emotional and physical well-being.

    While they may seem harmless, those "innocent" habits you're counting on to make you thin - and supposedly happy - can quickly spin out of control and leave you face-to-face with a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder.

    What is an Eating Disorder?

    Eating Disorders - such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder - include extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males of every age, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

    What causes eating disorders?

    Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, psychological, interpersonal, biological and social conditions. Scientists and researchers are still learning about the underlying causes of these emotionally and physically damaging conditions.

    While eating disorders may begin with preoccupations with food and weight, they are most often about much more than food and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem overwhelming. For some, dieting, bingeing and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful, emotional health, and/or self-esteem issues; and find it provides a sense of competence and control.

    Kinds of Eating Disorders

    Anorexia Nervosa (anorexia) is a condition characterized by significant weight loss due to an intentional attempt to restrict eating. Some people find that they lose their sense of hunger, but other people with anorexia just develop a tolerance for feeling hungry all the time.

    A formal diagnosis of anorexia is made when someone:

    Refuses to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height (< 85% of ideal body weight)

    Has intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though their weight is normal or low

    Has a disturbance in the way his or her body weight or shape is experienced

    Experiences undue influence of body weight or shape on self-esteem

    Denies the seriousness of current low body weight

    Bulimia Nervosa is a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating that may have little or nothing to do with actual physiological hunger. These episodes of bingeing are then followed by recurrent compensatory behaviors intended to prevent weight gain.

    A formal diagnosis of bulimia is made when someone:

    • Engages in repeated episodes of binge eating, characterized by eating in a discrete amount of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
    • A sense of lack of control; that the person cannot stop eating or control what or how much they are eating.
    • Engages repeatedly in inappropriate compensatory behavior designed to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting; misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other medications; fasting, or excessive exercise.
    • Engages in the binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors on average, at least twice a week for three months.
    • Experiences that self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape or weight.
    • Does not experience these disturbances exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa.   

    Female Athlete Triad is a syndrome of three interrelated conditions that exist on a continuum of severity.

    • Energy Deficit/Disordered Eating
    • Amenorrhea (lack of menstrual periods)
    • Osteoporosis/Bone Loss

    Restrictive Eating

    Our society puts a great deal of emphasis on body image. Advertising and the media equate certain physical images with happiness and desirability in order to sell products. Millions of people risk their health to get "the look" they see in ads and the media.

    People May Be at Particular Risk if they are:

    • Under stress due to family, work, school or relationships
    • Pressured to look a certain way by others (coaches, employers, partners, parents, friends)
    • Unhappy with themselves
    • Looking for ways to control their lives

    Why is Restrictive Eating a Problem?

    • Restrictive eating can change metabolism. This can make maintaining a healthy weight more difficult.
    • What begins as a small habit can get worse and result in a more serious eating disorder.
    • Restrictive eating robs your body of important nutrients. This, in turn, robs you of energy, strength and creativity.
    • Illness and infection can happen more frequently.
    • Eating is often social. Restricting your eating can lead to isolation.

    Are you concerned about your eating? This free screening tool can help you determine if it is time to seek professional support.

    Support available at MSU Student Health & Wellness:

    • MSU Student Health Services: Medical Evaluation
    • MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS): Walk-in Screening, Individual Appointments, Therapy Groups
    • MSU Health Promotion: Individual Nutrition Counseling
  • Body Image & Weight Concerns

    BMI: Body Mass Index . . . or Best Meandering Idea? 

    BMI or body mass index is a number that is generated by dividing someone’s weight in pounds by their height squared and multiplying the result by 703.  This simple ratio of weight and height is now used as a measure of health, and that’s a problem. Historically, Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet devised the BMI equation in 1832.  He created the formula to be used as a statistical tool across large populations, but he never intended for the number to be used as a measure of individual health. The truth is that BMI is not a measure of health at all.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

    “BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults. However, BMI is not a diagnostic tool. To determine if excess weight is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments. These assessments might include skinfold thickness measurements, evaluations of diet, physical activity, family history, and other appropriate health screenings.”

    These assessments are not always readily available, and they are either expensive or need highly trained personnel, which may be why BMI is so widely used.

    Components of Body Image

    Emotional: How do you feel about your body?
    Visual: How do you see your body?
    Movement: How does your body feel in space?
    Historical: What messages have you received about your body?

    Improving Body Image

    "Will Powers" for Improving Body Image

    • I WILL treat my body with respect and kindness. I will feed it, keep it active, and listen to its needs.
    • I WILL spend less and less time in front of mirrors - all they do is make me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious.
    • I WILL surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself and my abilities.
    • I WILL exercise for the joy of feeling my body move and grow stronger. I will not exercise simply to lose weight, purge fat from my body, or to "make-up for" calories I have eaten.
    • I WILL practice taking people seriously for what they say, feel, and do, not for how slender, or "well put together" they appear.
    • I WILL, twice a day every day, ask myself: "Am I benefiting from focusing on what I believe are the flaws in my body weight or shape?"

    Adapted from 10 "Will-Powers" for Improving Body Image. Written by: Michael Levine, Ph.D

     

    Why Dieting Doesn't Work:

    Dieting (making a radical change in eating habits to lose weight quickly) not only is not healthy, it just doesn't work. In fact, 95% or more of people who diet to lose weight regain all the weight back within 1-5 years. Two-thirds of dieters will regain more weight than what they lost.

    People who are thin don't eat less food. Studies have consistently failed to find a difference in eating patterns between thin and heavier people. Genetics and early family habits of eating and activity have a powerful influence.

    Dieting can have both physical and psychological health consequences, including decreased metabolic rate, potential loss of lean muscle tissue, decreased energy, increased preoccupation with food, difficulty concentrating, and inadequate sleep.

    Top Ten Reasons To Give Up Dieting

    10. Diets don't work. Even if you lose weight, you will probably gain it all back, and you might gain back more than you lost.

    9. Diets are expensive. If you didn't buy special diet products, you could save enough to get new clothes, which would improve your outlook right now.

    8. Diets are boring. People on diets talk and think about food and practically nothing else. There's a lot more to life.

    7. Diets don't necessarily improve your health. Like the weight loss, health improvement is temporary. Dieting can actually cause health problems.

    6. Diets don't make you beautiful. Very few people will ever look like models. Glamour is a look, not a size. You don't have to be thin to be attractive.

    5. Diets are not sexy. If you want to be more attractive, take care of your body and your appearance. Feeling healthy makes you look your best.

    4. Diets can turn into eating disorders.  The obsession to be thin can lead to anorexia, bulimia, bingeing, and compulsive exercising.

    3. Diets can make you afraid of food. Food nourishes and comforts us, and gives us pleasure. Dieting can make food seem like your enemy and can deprive you of all the positive things about food.

    2. Diets can rob you of energy. If you want to lead a full and active life, you need good nutrition, and enough food to meet your body's needs.

    1. Learning to love and accept yourself just as you are will give you self-confidence, better health, and a sense of well-being that will last a lifetime.

  • Normal Eating

    Normal Eating

    Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose the 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 give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. 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 mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating 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 response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

    Copyright © 2012 by Ellyn Satter.

  • Nutrient Needs


    With so much information available about nutrition, it is hard to sort the fact from fiction.

    The reality is that your body needs fats, carbohydrates, and protein to function at its best. Here are the facts:

    Carbohydrates

    Why do I need carbohydrates?

    They are the body's main energy source and help to maintain a normal blood sugar level. They are stored in our muscles to be used as energy between meals and snacks. Carbohydrate-rich foods are important sources of fiber and B vitamins. They help us to feel satisfied and full.

    What are some sources of carbohydrates?

    • Breads, pastas, rice, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, muffins
    • Starchy vegetables- corn, peas, lentils, potatoes 
    • Legumes or beans- pinto, navy, black, kidney, black-eyed peas
    • Snack foods- pretzels, popcorn, crackers, granola bars

    Proteins

    Why do I need protein?

    It is needed to build and repair muscles. It is the building block of major organs. All of our enzymes, antibodies, and many hormones are made up of protein. Protein-rich foods are important sources of iron, zinc, and niacin.

    What are some sources of protein?

    • Meats- chicken, seafood, beef, pork, venison, lamb, buffalo
    • Soy proteins- tofu, veggie burgers, veggie ground beef, veggie luncheon meats 
    • Nut proteins- peanuts, mixed nuts, peanut/soy/almond butter 
    • Dairy proteins- milk, yogurt, cheese, nutrition supplements
    • Energy bars & protein bars

    Fats

    Why do I need fat?

    Fat is an important energy source and helps to maintain our immune system. It is a building block for estrogen, cortisone, and thyroid hormones. It is a necessary component of all cells in our bodies. It helps us to feel full and it adds enjoyment to foods.

    What are some sources of fat?

    • Peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and other nut butters.
    • Vegetable oils including olive, safflower, sunflower, peanut, corn, canola, soy 
    • Avocados and olives
    • Cheese, margarine, butter, sour cream, mayonnaise

    Contributed by Page Love, MS, RD, LD 2004 National Eating Disorders Association.

  • Supplements

    Supplements in the form of pills, powders, or liquids are used to try to achieve certain goals. Sometimes people who restrict their intake of food think they can take a supplement (such as a vitamin pill) to cover their nutritional needs. This isn't true.

    "Supplement," means "in addition to." Supplements are not meant to be and cannot serve as a replacement for food. Sometimes people look to supplements for a quick fix to an eating problem. A good rule is, "If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is." If a product promises to "burn away fat" or "build up muscle," steer clear.

    Strength, stamina, and health come from good nutrition and appropriate activity. You can't buy them in the drug store, health food store or from a magazine.

    Vitamin, mineral, fiber or caloric supplements can be useful in promoting health. But it's best to discuss when and what to use with your health care provider. Getting too much of a supplement can be much more harmful than not getting enough.

    ETR Associates; Series Editor: Barbara A. Cooley, MA, CHES; Text: Jane Simonson, MD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Nutrition Program Coordinator

Anne (Annie) Buffington, MA, RDN, CSSD
buffing9@msu.edu
517.355.7593

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Karen Giles-Smith, MS, RDN
gilessmi@msu.edu
517.432.8324

Body Image

  • Love Your Body - NOW Foundation The Love Your Body campaign challenges the message that a woman’s value is best measured through her willingness and ability to embody current beauty standards.

Health at Every Size 

  • The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) ASDAH envisions a world that celebrates bodies of all shapes and sizes, in which body weight is no longer a source of discrimination and where oppressed communities have equal access to the resources and practices that support health and well being.

  • Health At Every Size Community Health at Every Size® principles help advance social justice, create an inclusive and respectful community, and support people of all sizes in finding compassionate ways to take care of themselves.

Eating Competence

  • Ellyn Satter Institute helps people discover the joy and practicality of eating and feeding based on the Satter eating competence and feeding dynamics models.

Eating Disorders

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

MSU Student Food Bank

Vegetarian/Vegan

Recipes