Dr Wafaa Ayesh, Clinical Nutrition Director, DHA Image Credit: Supplied

My college campus offers many unhealthy foods such as pizza, deep-fried chicken and fries. They do offer salads and fruits, but these are not filling. What should I do to eat healthily, but not feel hungry all the time?

Having access to a variety of healthy foods at the campus can be a challenge for students. However, focusing on eating foods that are high in fibre and protein may help you feel full longer. Healthy options to look out for include: A salad bar (avoid dressings that are cream-based or high in fat and sodium); wholegrain bread, entrée options without breading, cooked veggies without heavy sauces, broth-based soups; low-fat milk or yogurt for cereal or granola, and whole pieces of fruit or fresh fruit salad. Eating pizza or deep-fried items isn’t really that unhealthy if you manage it properly. They do contain ingredients that provide energy to fuel your brain and body. These foods are often prepared in a way that they can be high in fat and calories. However, they can be part of a balanced meal if they share the plate with side dishes that are low in fat, high in fibre, and nutrient dense. For example, try adding a portion of chicken and veggies or a plate of salad to a pizza slice. Or team some potato wedges or a piece of fried chicken with a plate of steamed or grilled veggies and brown rice.

I have recently started a low-sodium diet to lose water weight. Do salt substitutes make you retain water like salt does?

Salt substitutes containing potassium chloride (instead of sodium chloride in salt) won’t make you retain water. That said, before you completely eliminate salt from your diet, keep in mind that the average person does need 1,500mg to 2,300mg of salt per day for optimal kidney and motor function; as such, too much or too little salt may negatively impact your health. Before making a switch, take into account that salt substitutes could lead to potassium buildup in people taking certain medications for kidney, heart, or liver conditions. It’s better to consult a doctor to clear all doubts. To reduce sodium intake, try making changes to your diet and substitute salt with other flavourful additions such as herbs and spices. Experiment with your cooking; instead of adding salt to your food, try using lemon juice, garlic, or pepper. You can use a dressing of fresh herbs such as rosemary, tarragon, mint, sage, or spices such as peppercorn, chili, and paprika. Avoid highly salted foods: processed meats, cheese, prepackaged spice mixes and sauces.