College students are notoriously bad eaters. We probably have worse dietary reps than the rest of America. After all, we’re paying so much to go to this school that we can’t afford much more than Ramen noodles. Thus, the dreaded Freshman Fifteen.
Just tonight, I saw a great example of why so many college kids have a hard time with weight gain and good food choices. I came into the lobby on my floor and watched a game of Mortal Kombat. I sat down to play and there were Reese’s Pieces, gummy worms, chocolates, and chips and Cokes everywhere! Not one person had something healthy to snack on.
It’s easy to eat this way because it’s often perceived as cheap – but that isn’t always the case. Here are some ways you can health far more healthily and not drain your wallet.
- Go grocery shopping for snacks. Whole meals can be expensive to prepare, but snacks aren’t expensive to buy in smaller portions. There are less ingredients to buy and are usually sold at smaller prices. So grab some applesauce, apples, peaches, organic chips or crackers, and snack on those in between meals. Just replacing candy, processed, and sugar-filled foods with fresh, organic, healthy ones will help a lot.
- Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast curbs cravings later so you don’t grub out. Grab a granola bar and some OJ or Sunny D for plenty of fiber and vitamin C.
- Avoid excess. Even if you’re eating something healthy in theory – cereal, a sandwich, a salad – you can quickly turn it into something nasty just by adding on too many extras. Be mindful of how much sugar you pour into your cereal, how much meat is on your sandwich, how it’s cooked (Say it with me, “fried=no”), and how much fatty dressing you put on your salad.
- Choose water over soda. If you’re walking a lot on campus, all of the extra sugar in that soda is definitely not good for you, and a lack of water can make you easily dehydrated.
- Know what’s in your cafeteria. If your cafeteria offers a healthier meal on Monday, eat there. If they’re only offering pizza on Monday, skip it and eat elsewhere. Just be mindful of what you’re putting into your body.
- Don’t starve yourself! Remember that too much of a good thing is a bad thing! It’s not that you can’t have pizza or chocolate now and again, it’s just that you shouldn’t have it all the time. Depriving or starving yourself creates bad mental habits and cravings. Neither of those will help you. At all.
- Know your resources. Many cafeterias and universities offer some kind of nutritional or dietary guidelines – for example, UNA has basic guides for healthy eating in the form of pamphlets. Take advantage of those! They’re there for you to use and learn from.
I hope these tips help you to eat healthier on campus – you’ll look, feel, and be much better.
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