The college student author of “The Dorm Room Diet,” a guide to healthy college eating and exercising, spoke about her book at a Thursday night book signing in the SIS Lounge.
Daphne Oz, a junior at Princeton University, said she has struggled with weight all her life.
“From the time I was seven until I was 17, I was overweight,” Oz said. “When I was accepted to college I realized this represented an entirely new stage in my life. So I began the process of changing my lifestyle, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Oz’s health consciousness began early in life, as she fielded questions from fellow classmates throughout high school about different foods and diets. Not only did she advise others, but she transformed her high school’s cafeteria menu to include healthy options.
Since publishing “The Dorm Room Diet,” Oz has faced numerous critics who argue she does not have the educational background to advise college freshmen on major dietary alterations. Oz agrees. While she does not claim to be an expert in dietary science, she relies on her own experiences, as well as the input of her father (renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz), her grandfather (also a cardiac surgeon) and her grandmother (a nutritional advisor). Not to mention Oz lost 10 pounds her first semester in college while sticking to the very diet she writes about.
As a college student herself, Oz said she can relate to the factors working against students in maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program. She listed the five “danger zones” in terms of diet mistakes for college students: the cafeteria, studying, partying and tailgating, watching TV with friends and late-night talks.
These events lend themselves to endless snacking, most likely not on the healthiest foods, Oz said. She advised against keeping too much food in your room, but suggested stocking up on simple, healthy snack foods for late-night studying and in-between meals. Some of her favorites include soy crisps, baby carrots, almonds and chocolate-covered strawberries, she said.
The main focus of her book is “substitution when you can, moderation when you can’t,” she said.
Oz said college students should be more mindful of healthier options that they can substitute for their old standards or simply eat less of the foods that aren’t the healthiest.
A quality breakfast is important, especially for athletes who need to maintain their energy for strenuous workouts, Oz said. She suggested a breakfast that consists of complex carbohydrates, a little fat and lots of protein.
Wess Brooker, a senior in the Washington Semester Program, said Oz gave students valuable information they can easily apply to their diets instead of offering quick solutions.
“A lot of air is wasted on nutritional supplements and quick fixes, whereas Ms. Oz’s points were very realistic and applicable to students in general,” Brooker said.
Oz said college kids may have more control over their food options than they think.
“Our generation’s really interested in nutrition, and we have a lot of say in what people end up serving because we have the purchasing power,” she said.
The last two chapters of “Dorm Room Diet” focus on nutritional supplements and relaxation techniques. The relaxation techniques, including yoga exercises and meditation, can be of particular benefit to college students, Oz said. She encouraged balance and moderation in both diet and exercise for college students and said everyone has control over his or her own health and well being.
Eagle Contributing Writer Rafeena Ahmad contributed to this report.
Get the skinny on diet tips
While the tater tots and cheeseburgers at TDR can be tempting, they may pack a serious punch when it comes to fending off the freshman 15. Use some of these tips from Daphne Oz for avoiding those extra pounds:
-Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily, including one glass before every meal.
-Count to your age before you ‘cheat.’
-Keep snacks like fruit, almonds, baby carrots, soy crisps and rice cakes in dorm rooms in place of chips, cookies, candy and other junk food.
-Schedule hourly breaks for healthy snacks to remain alert and productive.
-Mix sparkling water with fruit juice for a sweet drink in place of soda.