Last updated: 11/17/2022

Following a balanced pattern of eating has a number of potential benefits that include a boost in energy, better sleep quality, and maintenance of a healthy weight. Further, three of the leading causes of death in the United States — coronary heart disease, some types of cancer, and stroke — are linked to diet. Poor eating habits may greatly increase the risk of chronic disease.

Decisions about what to eat to fuel your body may influence emotions, mood, energy levels, and cognitive performance. Making changes and balanced choices now could have a lasting effect on long-term health.


The most recent dietary guidelines published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) focus on making lifelong, balanced food and beverage choices and staying physically active. Having a diet that includes a variety of nutrients and getting  recommended amounts of physical activity may help reduce the risk of chronic disease for individuals of all ages:

  • Choose a variety of nutrient-rich foods from different food groups. This may include whole fruit, colorful vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, fortified soy beverages, a variety of protein foods, and oils.
  • Keep calories consumed from added sugars and saturated fats to ten percent of calories each per day.
  • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to less than 2,300 milligrams per day.

Talk to a nutritionist

Students can schedule an appointment with a nutritionist at Medical Services to discuss ways to inform balanced choices about food. 

Students with a Columbia Dining Plan can leverage Columbia Dining's nutrition program for information on healthy eating.

Other ways to talk about food and your body

Students can meet with a member of the Alice! Health Promotion staff to discuss healthy food-body relationships more broadly.

Students also may consider meeting with a counselor in Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) for any concerns related to eating and body image. 


Looking for Nutrition guides? There will be more information to come in the future, so check back soon. In the meantime, you may find these resources helpful: