Nutrition: Vitamins and Minerals

When you’re exploring different foods and learning about the many benefits of balanced meals, it’s easy to get carried away with portioning and identifying the macronutrients. As important as they are, it’s critical to pay attention to micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, as they also have a “macro” job. Vitamins and minerals support bodily functions, like metabolic processes, that keep us healthy.

As part of NOVA Online’s Nutrition series, we worked with a community partner to present a Vitamins and Minerals Nutrition workshop. The program provided an overview of the following: vitamins and minerals, dietary recommended intakes (DRI’s), essential types of vitamins and minerals, and supplement safety.

  • Vitamins are organic substances found in food that can either be fat-soluble or water-soluble. Minerals are inorganic substances found in soil and water that can be absorbed and/or consumed by plants and animals.
  • Dietary Recommended Intakes (DRI’s) is a set of reference values for nutrients. Find information about DRI’s on the National Institutes of Health’s website.
  • The top six vitamins and minerals you should know include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, and Zinc.
  • Although supplements are available, it’s advised to use food as your primary source of vitamins and minerals. If you are taking supplements, it’s encouraged to consult with your healthcare provider first and to always look for third-party verification on the supplement’s label.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to enroll in the Virtual Student Union to stay up to date on upcoming programs!

Nutrition 101

Taking care of our bodies can feel like quite the challenge when you’re starting to learn about Nutrition. With a stronger understanding of Nutrition, it’s less about you trying to find “the way” to healthy eating and more about finding the infinite ways food can nourish you.

Recently, we offered the first in a series of programs about Nutrition. NOVA Online worked with a community partner to present a Nutrition 101 workshop. The program provided an overview of the following: macronutrients, micronutrients, healthy plate composition, and nutrition labels.

  • Macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. They help provide energy, support cell growth, repair and build muscles.
  • Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. They support bodily functions and are only needed in small amounts.
  • A healthy plate composition is composed of produce, carbs, protein, and fat. The portion size of each is dependent on the activity level of your lifestyle.
  • Nutrition labels highlight serving information, calories, nutrients, and percent daily value. They can help you make smart and healthy choices.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to enroll in the Virtual Student Union to stay up to date on upcoming programs!

Getting to Know the Healthy Mind Platter!

As part of your New Year’s resolutions, you promised yourself you would be taking steps towards forming healthy habits and prioritizing your wellness. To help you achieve this, we would like to introduce you to the Healthy Mind Platter. The Healthy Mind Platter, created by Daniel Siegel and David Rock, focuses on seven mental activities for optimum mental health and overall wellbeing. The seven activities include:

  • Focus Time – Giving your undivided attention and care to a task.
  • Play Time – Providing yourself the opportunity to be spontaneous and creative.
  • Connecting Time – Being intentional about connecting with other people and the natural world.
  • Physical Time – Making time for physical activity.
  • Time In – Taking a mindfulness break to reflect internally and focus on sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts.
  • Down Time – Carving out time to let your mind relax and wander without a purpose.
  • Sleep Time – Ensuring time for the brain to rest and recover from the day’s activities.

With practice, these activities can become habits and have a powerful impact on your life. The Office of Wellness and Mental Health and NOVA Online hosted a Healthy Mind Platter workshop to talk about these activities in depth during Spring 2024 Welcome Week. Check out the Virtual Student Union (VSU) for more information!

Resources to Support NOVA Online Students

This post highlights just a few of the resources available to support NOVA Online students with achieving their academic and professional goals.

Success Coach

NOVA Online Success Coaches can refer you to resources and supports, provide help with time management, testing skills and more!  Contact a coach at

Weekly Study Time for Online Learning

View a chart that provides guidance on suggested study time based on course length and number of credits.


Access free tutoring available on days and times that meet your schedule.

Virtual Student Union 

Get connected and stay connected to the NOVA community.

Financial Stability and Advocacy Centers

Learn more about resources to support you with achieving your goals.

Getting Started in Your NOVA Online Course

Getting Started in Your NOVA Online Course

Get off to a winning start in your NOVA Online course. If you are new to NOVA Online, we recommend you view our 25 minute Zoom recording, Getting Started in Your NOVA Online Class Passcode: M22R^iqA.  The recording will review how a NOVA Online course is different from a campus or virtual course.  You will learn how to log into your course and navigate through it. The recording also reviews best practices and NOVA supports and resources. If you have questions or need help navigating NOVA Online, Success Coaches are here to help guide you.


Telephone: 703.323.3347

This article was written by Adrienne Raynor, NOVA Online Success Coach.

Graduation Deadline – March 1

Congratulations to students nearing the completion of their certificate or degree!  The deadline to apply for Spring 2022 Graduation is March 1.  Learn more about preparing for graduation by participating in a Graduation Prep Session (access the Virtual Student Union for registration information) or viewing the Crossing the Finish Line: NOVA Graduation Preparation Program video.


Timely Topics! Homeschooling Supports: Activities and Resources to Keep You and Your Children Learning and Happy

Are you homeschooling while trying to juggle your academic, personal and career responsibilities? Are you searching for exciting resources to help with this mission? The NOVA Online Success Coaches are here for you! We realize it is challenging to take on this added responsibility of homeschooling and keeping your children entertained while coping with your workload. To help you out, we have put together some fun resources to help you all stay happy, active and educated!
As follow up, we encourage you to join our Discussion Board in the NOVA Virtual Student Union (VSU) and share your favorites along with your homeschooling success stories! If you are not enrolled in the VSU, join now and participate in our daily activities and discussions: Enroll now

This video clip from a Morning Show highlights homeschooler tips:

Northern Virginia Community College Libraries – LibGuide links for free classes, books, videos, kids’ activities, podcasts and more. Find it HERE.

Audible offers access to free books online,

PBS offers wonderful educational options:

Watch live webcams from the Zoos

Explore a variety of free educational resources:

Visit a Museum: ‘Peabody at Home’:

Enjoy a Virtual Tour

—-Mt. Vernon:

Learn a foreign language: Duolingo

Exercise together: Do Yoga With Me

Watch a Broadway Play:

Family activities:

We invite you to share your favorite homeschooling tips! Connect with other parents and classmates and share your homeschooling tips, resources and success stories on the VSU Success Coach Discussion Board! Enroll now

Save the Date: Student Advisory Board Meeting


Friday, Feb 28, 2020 at 2pm. The Online Student Advisory Board Meeting will take place virtually via Zoom.

Open to any online student looking to join the board. Give input on how to make the online experience better! This meeting we will be discussing Graduation, Women’s History Month, and more!

For more info on  how to get involved visit the Student Advisory Board page!


Let us know if you plan to join the meeting! Click the link for a short survey- 



Monthly Book Club February

Connect with other online readers! The Student Life Department and NOVA Online Library hosts a monthly book club give away. Every month you can sign up to receive a free copy of the book and participate in online activities relating to the book. Every book will fit one of the categories in the NOVA Reads challenge.

How to register? 

  • Fill out this month’s book club form to let us know you’re participating this month. Students who sign up will receive a copy of the book in the mail (while supplies last). We only have 30 copies, so we suggest signing up early!

Register HERE!!!

Current Book Selection

How to Be an Antiracist

Written by Ibram X. Kendi (Links to an external site.)

Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.




Online Student Advisory Board Update

Hello everyone, we had a successful first Online Student Advisory Board meeting last week!

To review the meeting minutes visit the Advisory Board Meeting Notes & Updates page.

Let’s hear your perspective on the topics we discussed! Answer the following questions in the Student Advisory Board Forum

    • What support and student life resources have been useful to you as an online student?
    • What has been missing?
    • If you had $500 to fund an activity or event – what would you do?

Remember, any online student is welcome to participate. The more feedback and input the better! To join us for our February Meeting, please let us know your availability in the poll below: