A Healthy Lifestyle: The Importance of Food and Nutrition

Photo by Andrew J. Perez

Article by Kate Horan <kahoran@ursinus.edu>

The word “healthy” is often associated with a specific set of actions that will aid people in attaining the culture’s definition of an ideal body type. That notion is much too limited in comparison to the real complexity of what is actually an ongoing process that is unique to every person.

In actuality, the true goal is to create a lifestyle that allows people to reach their healthiest potential, embracing all aspects of interpersonal wellness. The truth of this goal is demonstrated by the Registered Dietitian for Ursinus, Lin Roberts (MS, RDN, LDN), who prioritizes leading a healthy lifestyle herself and is passionate about supporting students in their process of doing the same. Roberts specifically works to empower people of all ages to reach their healthiest potential through food and nutrition and wants to help individuals become more comfortable in their dining environment.

Roberts’ passion for the field of nutrition was clear when she was a high school student, and her career path was guided by her “love for working directly with people to help them improve health through medical nutrition therapy, education, and dietary counseling.” Roberts worked for many years as an out-patient clinical dietitian for many years, but she decided to shift her career focus. She transitioned into working as a district dietitian in the campus segment of a food management company, leading her to work at Ursinus College. Roberts was “excited for the opportunity to support young adults with emerging interests and questions in making their own dietary choices and to provide sound nutrition advice and guidance.”

Roberts adds another dimension to the dining program, working with the campus community to encourage healthy lifestyles. A healthy lifestyle “embraces all aspects of interpersonal wellness – nutritional balance, optimal hydration, regular physical activity, managing stress through positive behaviors, and certainly getting enough sleep,” states Roberts, and she practices what she preaches. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a priority for Roberts. She is very active and enjoys daily physical activity along with a plant-focused eating style. Expanding upon this, Roberts states, “I am motivated to keep active as a means for stress management and balanced eating to simply feel good as well as reduce risk of diseases that run in my family.”

Leading a healthy lifestyle is not always easy, and it requires dedication and motivation. Roberts has some tips on developing the drive and motivation that are necessary, and on how to be persistent in prioritizing health. “Some tips that have worked for me in living a healthy lifestyle include keeping a positive mindset, pre-planning meals, and setting an exercise schedule weekly,” says Roberts. In planning her meals, Roberts reads food labels to know what is in the food and uses labels to guide food selections. She finds “health tracking devices and apps to be particularly helpful and motivating in achieving wellness goals.”

Campus dietitians offer many services that are open to students, covering a wide variety of needs to support every student. According to Roberts, “Campus dietitians can offer individual consultations for students with food allergies and dietary intolerances, weight management, vegan/vegetarian/plant-based eating, general nutrition guidance or any dietary concern, sports specific information, and assistance in the navigation of campus dining.” Small group nutrition talks are also available to student groups. The Campus Dining Amenity at Ursinus also offers various Wellness Wednesday events that highlight the Mindful program, which “incorporates messaging of food, fuel, and fun!”

The Campus Dining Amenity also promotes nutrition resources through the campus dining website and the Everyday app, giving customers access to full menu information, ingredients, and identifiers of allergens. These resources also provide information on food attributes, including plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, and Mindful options. Roberts wants students to know that “the entire campus dining team at Ursinus College tries very hard to make the dining experience fun and unique for all students, faculty, and staff! And yes, filled with healthful and tasty menu offerings!” Come meet Roberts at one of her regular special Wellness Wednesday events in Wismer or contact her at melinda.roberts@sodexo.com. Also, check out @UrsinusDining on Instagram to see what Roberts and Ursinus Dining are working on around campus!