Nutrition & Physical Activity


Are you new to exercise? Make sure it’s safe to begin activity by answering these questions first, and sharing them with your healthcare provider.

Not sure what kind of exercise is right for you? Download the Quiz “Discovering Motives to Move” and thenmatch it to the right type of exercise.

Find out what’s standing in your way and get personalized feedback by taking this quiz about barriers to exercise.

Score your diet on nutrition, the environment, and animal welfare.

How do you measure up when preparing meals? A few simple changes can go a long way.

A well-balanced plate should include lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. How does your plate rate?

Get Active!

Participating in regular activity is also a great way to improve overall health and reduce risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. Click here for more information about exercise as medicine.

Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
Leading experts agree that we need at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity (activities that increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder) per week or more, and 2-3 days per week of resistance training. That’s about 30 minutes every day. If you are short on time, or just starting to exercise, break it up into 10-minute segments. Before you know it, you will be done!

Every little bit counts!
Look for ways to increase your activity in your everyday routine, like taking the stairs more often, parking further away, or scheduling a 15-minute walking break with a friend.

Set realistic goals.
While an “event” like New Year’s or Spring Break might get you moving, it’s not enough motivation to carry you beyond that week in Cabo or your first big midterm. To be successful, you need to be SMART – setting goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely! Click here to create a plan that works for you.

Find out what motivates you to be active.
Every wondered why some people love Zumba and loathe yoga, or prefer team sports to weight lifting? Psychological and social factors play in to the types of activity we enjoy, and can predict what you’ll stick with. Download the Quiz “Discovering Motives to Move” and then match it to the right type of exercise.

Start slow and work your way up!
Whether it’s climbing a flight of stairs or running a marathon, it all begins with one step! If you are recovering from an injury, talk with your health care provider before starting any type of activity. The CSU Health Network’s Physical Therapy Services can evaluate whether or not you are ready for activity.

Treat your body like a good friend.
In this thin-obsessed society, it can be very difficult to keep a healthy perspective about our bodies. The truth is, if everyone ate the same things, and did the same amount of exercise for an entire year – we would still look very different. Our genetics influence bone structure, weight, body shape, and size in different ways. Click here to learn more about body size acceptance.

While about 75 percent of CSU women are considered to be at a healthy weight, 51 percent are trying to lose weight (Colorado State University Executive Summary, National College Health Assessment, Fall 2011). Working out can feel like a punishment when we focus solely on pounds lost and calories burned. Instead, think about what makes you feel good – it does not matter if it’s considered “traditional” exercise. If it increases your heart rate and makes you breathe harder, it counts!

5 Simple Tips for Eating Well

Eat breakfast.
Eating within one hour of waking up boosts your metabolism and gives your body the energy it needs to start the day.

Drink water.
Being adequately hydrated helps to maintain energy level and keeps you focused.

Eat a variety of fruits and veggies daily.
Aim for a variety of color in your Fruits and Veggies so that your body gets the nutrients it needs.

Choose less-processed foods.
Highly processed foods often contain unhealthy amounts of sodium, empty calories, and preservatives to extend shelf-life. Avoid products like frozen meals or canned soups, cured meats (i.e. bacon, hot dogs, deli meat) and those with refined flour and sugar (many cereals, and packaged cookies and crackers). Shop for whole foods (like fresh or frozen fruits and veggies), whole grains, and those with ingredients you can recognize.

Eat when you’re truly hungry, stop when you’re full.
Most diets don’t work. It’s unrealistic (and unhealthy) to cut out entire food groups, monitor each calorie of every bite, or refrain from all “forbidden” foods (French fries, anyone?) for very long. Your body needs fuel to get through the day, so it is important to honor your hunger. On the flip side, pay attention to when you are full and be aware when you’re eating for reasons other than hunger (e.g., stress, sadness). All foods are okay in moderation.

Eating Right on a Budget

It’s tough to eat right when you’re short on time and money. The following tips from the USDA will help you spend less and eat better!

Before Shopping:

  • Make a shopping list. This helps you stick to your budget.
  • Plan your meals. Planning helps put leftovers to good use.
  • Look for coupons, sales, and store specials.
  • For added savings sign up for the store discount card.

During Shopping:

  • Try not to shop when you are hungry. It’s easier to stick to your shopping list.
  • Try store brands. They usually cost less.
  • Compare products for the best deal.
  • Check sell-by dates. Buy the freshest food possible. It lasts longer.

After Shopping:

  • Store food right away to preserve freshness.
  • If buying a large quantity, divide into portions and freeze to prevent spoiling.
  • Use foods with the earliest expiration dates first.


  • Buy fresh fruits in season when they generally cost less.
  • Frozen and canned fruits are a smart choice all year round.

Low-Fat Milk Products

  • Buy fresh, low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese in the largest size that can be used before spoiling.
  • Larger containers cost less than smaller sizes.
  • Ultra-pasteurized milk has a longer expiration date and won’t spoil as fast.

Meat and Beans

  • Dried beans and peas are a good source of protein and fiber. They last a long time without spoiling.
  • Chuck or bottom round roast has less fat and is cheaper than sirloin.
  • Look for specials at the meat counter. Buy meat on sale for big savings.
  • Buy meat in large bulk packages to save money.
  • Freeze portions you might not use right away to prevent spoiling.

Breads and Grains

  • Look for bargains on day old bread. It costs less but is still nutritious.
  • Buy regular rice, oatmeal, and grits instead of instant to save on money, sugar, and calories.

Vegetables and Salad

  • Buy large bags of frozen vegetables. Seal tightly in the freezer between uses.
  • Avoid pre-bagged salad mixes. They are usually more expensive and spoil faster.

What About Fat?

Your body needs fat to survive but not all fats are created equal! The best sources are monounsaturated (nuts, vegetable oils, avocados) or polyunsaturated fats (canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, salmon). Try to limit saturated fat (found in animal products and certain plant oils) and trans-fat (added to many processed foods to extend shelf-life).

Quick Recipe Ideas

Click here to view a 7-day sample menu from USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.

Check out some easy and healthy ideas from America’s top chefs.

Make a meal for yourself and your roommates (or freeze it!) on $10 or less.

Campus Support

  • Disordered Eating Nutrition Consultation at the CSU Health Network is a low-cost service that helps CSU students establish healthy dietary practices. Staffed by an experienced registered dietitian with experience treating eating disorders, individual counseling sessions are offered for disordered eating (bulimia, anorexia nervosa, binging and purging, use of laxatives or diet pills).
  • A registered dietician with Residential Dining Services can discuss individual nutrition needs and concerns, including food allergies and special diets, assist with meal planning and provide dining center tours for students while living on-campus and eating in the dining centers. A support group for those students living on campus with food allergies, intolerances, and Celiac Disease is available.  Contact the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to be added to the group’s listerv.
  • Check out the HDS online menus for each dining center including nutrient information, ingredient lists, and the allergens present for the foods served.  Come by the HDS Nutrition Office (in the Palmer Center) to browse tons of nutrition and health resources including books, magazines, events, recipes, etc.
  • Check out their Nutrition Calculator that assesses their residential dining center menu ingredients and calories. On campus nutrition presentations are available upon request.
  • CSU Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center offers nominally priced services to students. They include:
    • Nutrition counseling with a Registered Dietitian
    • Body composition assessment
    • Resting metabolic rate
    • Cooking classes and demonstrations
    • Healthy You-Mindful Eating and Weight Management
    • Diet analysis
    • Recipe analysis
    • Diabetes programs
    • Presentations on and off campus

    CSU Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center Services


American College of Sports Medicine’s Keys to Exercise Success provides guidance on starting an exercise program, and how to make it a lifelong habit.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Physical Activity for Everyone outlines how much exercise is needed each week, ideas to fit activity into your day, and examples of cardio and strengthening exercises.

The American Heart Association‘s mission is to educate about and prevent heart disease and stroke. AHA offers a wealth of information on exercise, nutrition, stress management, and quitting smoking.

America on the Move is a free online community where participants can register as individuals or as a group, and access tools, resources, local walking trails, and more. is a project of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an organization of the USDA. It’s your resource for the nation’s most up-to-date nutrition standards and a wealth of tools, resources, and information about nutrition and activity.

CDC’s Nutrition for Everyone is a basic guide to nutrition and breaks down food groups, dietary fat, protein, carbohydrates, etc.