The Chronicle’s View: Eat healthy and live healthy, too

Every year, millions of people make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, eat healthy, etc. But in the time between finals and New Year’s, the damage has often already been done.

And, of course, nobody really thinks those resolutions do anything, anyway.

The holidays are a time when every single bad impulse, at least when it comes to food, comes into the forefront of American life.

Grades and family get-togethers create stress. Ample time to eat healthily gets scarce during the holiday rush, and parties, dinners and food courts allow for some pretty calorie-heavy menu options.

Studies show that students-and pretty much everyone else-ignore healthy habits during the break, allowing the crunch of the end of the semester to turn them into sugar-munching blobs who get little to no exercise.

So what to do during the hectic holiday rush? Eating and living healthily is tough to do in general, and the challenge is exacerbated when stress and temptation become overwhelming.

One alternative to binging on sugar plums is getting involved in the new Community Food Co-op.

Benefits are three-fold, a statistic that even strung-out finals crammers can appreciate.

First off, helping out at the co-op gives you an excuse to get away from the normal holiday grind.

You deliver food to different places, get out into the crisp weather and meet appreciative people.

The food comes from local farms that can’t compete with the big boys. So the co-op helps distribute it and turns it into a win-win for everyone.

Second: What is food? Dense matter! Which means that you are working out while doing a little community service on the side. You aren’t doing it alone-it is suggested and encouraged that you get a group together to enjoy the experience-and last time we checked, playing group Boggle with your friends while chugging eggnog wasn’t a group activity that helped others’ or your waistline.

Third-the big hook to this whole thing-is cheap, healthy food. It’s the exact opposite of the greasy, overpriced meal plan that dorm-dwellers are used to.

By helping out at the co-op, you will be able to purchase fruits and vegetables (no, not the sugar-coated kind) for marked-down prices of up to 50 percent. The farmers still need to make money but don’t charge the high prices that grocery store farms push on consumers. The savings get passed on to helpers, allowing for some darn inexpensive apples and carrots.

So you get to eat healthy, eat cheap, get exercise, do something nice for someone else and still hang out with your friends over the break. Can you think of a better alternative?