Better Food = Healthy Life


Photo by: Leticia Leal

A picture of a few healthy and delicious treats. It’s truly the breakfast of champions.

Story By: Natalie Gallegos, Reporter

If you ask Fresno City College students about nutrition, some may tell you they find a quicker route to a meal—fast food.

“It’s a lot easier to just eat out,” said Leo Bautista, a freshman majoring in criminology. “Homework always gets in the way, and sometimes, there’s not enough time to make yourself a meal.”

According to, the average American gains 190,000 calories a year, just from consuming fast food. These meals contain sugar, salt, and trans-fat, which can all be just as addictive as alcohol or drugs.

“Fast food will provide energy for the body, just like any other foods will,” Kristen Stenger, registered dietitian and nutrition instructor at FCC said. “However, over time, frequent consumption of fast foods can have an impact on health and the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity.”

Stenger said that nutrition is important because it is the single most influential behavior that impacts health.“It’s slightly more important than exercise, and actually even more important than whether you smoke tobacco or not,”

In order to ensure students are getting the nutrients and calories that are needed throughout the day, Stenger suggests students download MyPlate, an app that provides users information on calorie count intake based on gender, age, and height.

“The more you eat things that don’t really belong in a food group, the less room you have within your calorie budget to meet your nutrient needs.” Stenger said. “Within each food group there are choices to make more often, and choices to make less often,”

Scattered around the FCC campus are vending machines filled with snacks that might not be the most nutritious option for students.

“Some schools have removed vending machines because they are generally the types of foods we should be consuming less of,” Stenger said. “It’s difficult to have healthy foods in vending machines because of shelf-life.”

Of course, FCC students always have the campus cafeteria as an open option for meals between classes.
“The cafeteria has healthy options and it has less healthy options, just like any other restaurant,” Stenger said, adding that it is up to the consumer to be knowledgeable about their food choices.

“I don’t usually think about nutrition when consuming; I focus more on taste,” said Adilenne Torres, a sophomore majoring in biology. “As a college student, I’m living life very fast and I don’t have much time to focus on details like that [nutrition] very often.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease, which results from a poor diet and high calorie foods.

Knowing the importance of nutrition is a big key to being healthy. Fats are needed in one’s body, but when a person’s intake is more than recommended, their risk of heart disease increases .

“It’s a good idea to try and eat a variety of colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables,” Stenger said. “I also encourage people to explore whole grains other than wheat, like quinoa, amaranth, teff, farro, spelt, and oats.”