The College Student Guide to Healthy Eating

In the rest of my blog posts on eating tips, I always focused on things that anyone could do in order to eat healthier but this week I wanted to focus on different things that college students can do to eat healthy.

I came across this Buzzfeed article that stated easy and simple things that college kids can do to move their eating habits towards a healthier direction (even if only by a little bit).

Think of what you should add to your meals.

A lot of healthy eating articles that I have came across in the past weeks made it seem like people needed to cut all of their unhealthy food and to just eat healthy food, like fruits and vegetables. This is false. When people are starting to eat healthy they shouldn’t stop eating their normal food all at once. I know that if I did that I would be more likely to miss processed and unhealthy food (the normal) way more than I would if I ate the same (while trying to eat less junk) and adding more nutritional food into my diet. A balanced diet is key.

Instead of thinking about what you shouldn’t eat, think about what you should eat.

You don’t have to eat all healthy food items.

When I first started getting into the whole “health-craze” thing I thought that every single healthy food item was something that I had to get when I went grocery shopping. I’ve recently found out that I don’t have to eat every healthy thing to be healthy. In order to eat healthy (and actually stick with it) I needed to find food items that I actually enjoy and make my body feel good. If you feel good, you’re more likely to eat the same food again than the food that makes you feel bad.

Emergency granola bars will save you.

Have you ever been in a class when you were hungry and you didn’t care what you ate as long as you had some kind of food in your stomach right after class? No? Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m hungry I need to eat something ASAP. Packing a granola bar in your backpack, purse, etc. will seriously save your nutritional intake for the day and will hold you over until you have access to a nice (and hopefully healthy) meal, because you’re not going to have that luxury at the campus food court that’s filled with greasy and fried food (minus the solo salad stand).

And lastly…

Water should become your new BFF.

It seems like everywhere you go on a college camps there is pop, juice and energy drinks at every corner. I know that it’ll be a constant struggle to avoid these drinks but your body will definitely thank you. An easy thing to do in order to stay strong in avoiding these sugary drinks is to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go, that way you’ll always have something to drink and it will hopefully help you stay hydrated…It’s a plus-plus.

Adapting to a crazy and hectic lifestyle makes it hard to be healthy (and stick to it) and it’s even harder when you’re possibly living by yourself for the first time.

Changing your daily eating habits is tough but with little changes like the ones that I mentioned above and the many more tips that can be found here, I think that you’ll be one step closer to a healthier lifestyle.

Until next time…

Advertisements

Cheap and Easy Eating Habits

As a college student, I know that not everyone has money to buy the healthiest food items for their meals, but I think that if we focus on what we are spending our money on and change our buying habits that we could eat healthier.

This Greatest online article lists 22 cheap and easy things  that people can do to eat healthier, but I’m only going to talk about a few of them.

Never go shopping hungry.

I know that this should be obvious, but I struggle with this almost every time that I go grocery shopping. Usually I never plan when I’m going to shopping and it’s usually spontaneous (and on an empty stomach). My mind tells me to only get the things that I absolutely need, but my stomach tells me to go down the snack and ice cream aisle. Now, don’t be like me. Eat a meal or a filling snack before you shop for food. Your wallet will thank you.

Make a shopping list.

I think that this is possibly one of the most important thing a person can do in preparation for when they go and buy groceries. Not only will you not forget items that you need, but you’ll be less likely to go down aisles that you don’t need to. Having a physical list in front of you keeps you focused on the things that you need to do. Now, making a shopping list will only help you save money if you stick to only buying the items on the list! If not, why even have a shopping list?

Buy in bulk.

Buying in bulk has definitely saved me some money! At first I thought that the idea of buying in bulk was dumb (because I thought it was a waste of my money because I didn’t think I would eat that much), but after portioning these items out I learned that I saved more money than I would have if I would have bought smaller versions of the products.

Avoid sweetened drinks.

This was a struggle for me this last year. I would always go out and buy coffee (well, sugared and chocolate-syrup coffee) and pop to keep me up when I was working on homework or big assignments. At the time, I didn’t think much of my well-being and health and instead only focused on my academics and my grades. Now I know better.

Sweetened drinks are so bad for you. There are several articles, like this one, on the Internet that agree with me. It might be hard to cut yourself off from sweetened drinks cold-turkey, but you’ll feel so much better if you do and you’ll save money!

Avoid unhealthy food.

I say this all the time, but you’ll create healthy eating habits if you don’t buy things that are bad for your body. I know that you want the cookies, the ice cream, or the pizzas, but these things aren’t going to help you better yourself on your fitness journey. The only way to not be tempted by this type of food is to not buy it in the first place.

 

These tips aren’t crazy or outrageously hard to do, so do them! I swear your body and wallet will thank you.

Until next time…

 

 

Keep Your Healthy Eating Resolution Strong!

I know that the New Years festivities have come and gone, but have your resolutions? I’m a strong believer that you can keep adding resolutions to your list even if it’s no longer January. If you want to change something in your life, do it! Don’t wait until next year. Start changing your life now! Or if you’re slacking on your new years resolution, find some motivation!

I came across this Self online article that listed some tips for people (like you and I) to help them continue to push on in their journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s a list of what I think is the most important things to focus on when it comes to what you eat:

The less sugar, the better.

I know, this probably isn’t something that you want to hear. I definitely did not like hearing this piece of advice… I mean, could I really live without pop and candy? The answer? Yes.

I realized after cutting sugar out of my diet that I felt better. It wasn’t a coincidence either. Here’s an article that explains the great things that can happen to you if you cut sugar out of your diet.

Have some vegetables and fruits for breakfast.

According to this Healthy Eating article, people are suppose to eat 2.5 to 6.5 cups of vegetables and fruit daily, so I think that it’s best that they start eating them right away in the morning. Personally, I think that it would be easier to get the total daily amount of these in a day if I started it earlier. The quicker you eat them, the quicker that I can finish them. I don’t know about you, but eating a lot of veggies and fruit is a struggle for me.

Eat out less.

As a college student, I can honestly say that this is a constant struggle for me. Eating out seems to be the main way that my friends and I gather and socialize. We don’t have to cook. We can get out of the dorms. It seems like a win-win, that is except for the sinking feeling I get after I eat a bigger meal. I lack this self-control when it comes to eating out at Applebee’s, Arby’s, etc.

I think this is one of the most important things. If we change our eating habits and eat out less than I think that we’ll be able to see our workout results quicker than before.

Buy fewer sweets.

This is a constant struggle for me. Whenever I go to the grocery store I always want to go down the cookie and candy aisle, though I stop myself from doing so. If I don’t buy as many sweets, than I’m less likely to eat them. It’s tough to not buy all of the things that I want to eat, but I always remind myself that my future self will thank me.

 

These things aren’t huge or hard to do, which is why I thought that it was crucial to share. Trying to live a healthier lifestyle is tough, but by slightly changing one’s eating habits and shopping habits, they can make the transition a little easier.

 

 

Eating Habits For Before And After Workouts

Like many other people just beginning their health journey, it’s sometimes hard to know what you should put in your body before and after you work out. I am one of these people.

I found this Self online article that talked about things that people should eat before and after a workout (and it’s advice from a registered dietitian- That’s a plus!). I think that putting the right nutrients in your body will help you feel better and have a good workout. This article has a ton of information in it (some nutritional terminology) so I am just going to simplify it.

 

Eating Habits Before A Workout:

First off it should be noted that the ideal time that people should eat before they work out is between 30 minutes to 3 hours before they work out, but the timing depends on each person. Also, stay hydrated before, during, and after your work out.

Carbs Are Your Friends

I know that there are a lot of people who try to avoid carbs at all costs, but that’s not necessarily a good or healthy thing. The nutritionist in the article said that for people to be energized enough to have a good workout that they should eat carbs before they work out. To simplify it carbs create energy. Some food items that people can eat are granola bars, oatmeal, or some fruits.

Protein Is A Must

Carbs aren’t the only thing that people should eat before they go work out, they should also have protein. This protein is more beneficial if someone is trying to weight train, but anyone can eat this before they go to the gym. Some of these food items are nuts, milk, or a hard-boiled egg. Personally, I drink protein shakes so I get the nutrients I need without feeling full.

 

Eating Habits After A Workout:

Eat Carbs and Protein

The nutritionist went on to say that after a workout people should try to eat as soon as they can so they can refuel. It’s ideal to have a full meal that consists of carbs and protein, but even a light snack could get people by until they have time to make a bigger meal (Just try to keep the snack under 150 calories). Brown rice, beans, and fish are packed with these nutrients.

 

These are just some easy guidelines that people can follow to try and treat their body right and feed it the nutrients that it needs.

Before I read this article I never knew what I should eat before and after a workout. I always thought that it was a bad thing if I felt the need to eat something right when I got done with my workout, but now I know that it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually normal.

I hope that this blog will help you make smart nutritional choices before you work out and after, because I want everyone to live their best life. Our fitness journeys are all different and we all face different difficulties along the way, but by helping each other stay educated we’re one step closer to living our best and healthiest lives.

 

 

Keep Track of What You Eat

Since I’ve come to college, I’ve learned that going out to eat is one of the core things that people do for social gatherings. Now, I do love food and going out to eat, but after a while I can’t help but think of how far I’m pushing myself away from my goal by eating out so much (because let’s face it, when I go out to eat I don’t order a salad).

Now, some people eat because they are hungry, but I have noticed that, for me, I eat even when I’m not hungry. I could be bored, stressed, or sad… It didn’t matter. This Student Health 101 article talks about ways that people, like me, can break away from unnecessary eating.

In this article, Student Health 101 put out a survey asking college students if they ate when they were hungry or just because they felt like it. The survey’s results declared that around two-thirds of the participating students eat when they aren’t hungry. In most cases, when people are eating when they are not hungry, they are usually participating in emotional eating.

In contrast, there is also a thing called mindful eating, which has people think about if they are hungry before they eat. I think that mindful eating is something that people should aim for (especially if they’re trying to be healthy and stay on track).

One way to stop yourself from participating in emotional eating is to check in with yourself before you eat, instead of just digging right in. By checking in, people can be praying or reflecting on how they feel and if that would affect their need to eat. I really like this concept of being in touch with your mind and body, because then you can make a rational decision instead of just saying, “I’m having a cheat day today (or everyday) because I feel like it.” Express how you feel and ask yourself if that’s the reason you want to eat more food.

Another idea that I thought was cool is having a food journal to hold yourself accountable for what you eat. I know that when I’ve had food journals, whether it be on a fitness app or a spare notebook I had laying around, that I held myself accountable and limited my food intake. Yes, some days I was annoyed that I had hit my calorie intake for the day, but other days I felt great knowing that I ate just what I needed to for the day. For me, a positive thing that came out of having a food journal is that I was able to train myself to not snack all the time (bye Kit-Kats and chips). I learned self-control and I highly recommend that others do the same!

Here’s a link to an article that can help you start a food journal. Journals are meant to help you, not intimidate you. These food journals are meant for your personal viewing and have the ability to help keep your eating habits in line. Keep track of what you eat and hold yourself accountable.

 

 

Burgers and Fries and Carbs… Oh, My.

As a college student, I know all about the constant struggle of eating healthy. I mean, a buffet-like cafeteria and access to all of the junk food I could ask for? When I was a freshman, I thought that was the greatest thing to happen. After I realized that I was wrong … oh, so wrong.

Having access to food ranging from pizza to burgers to fries seemed like a dream come true, but I found out that after eating these kinds of meals on the daily that I was breaking out and my body felt sluggish. I barely ate fruit and veggies (sorry, Mom) and ate loads of carbs and sugar.

I’m here to tell you that gaining a huge amount of weight is real in college and that there are things that you can do to avoid gaining this weight.

First off, even though certain foods are more available on campus doesn’t mean that you need to eat them. Fruits and vegetables seem to be seen less and less in comparison to chips and other processed food. I found this article that talked about how colleges don’t think about students’ eating habits when they choose what food they are going to provide for them, as they are only focused on the profit that the school itself can make.

If colleges aren’t going to help us make healthy eating choices, we have to do it ourselves.

School cafeterias do offer certain fruits and vegetables along with a few healthy choices, but for the most part students are surrounded by greasy and fatty food. With all of the food temptations that surround students once they enter the cafeteria, it’s hard to stay strong and motivated in eating healthy. I mean, picking a salad over a burger and fries is a tough thing to do. Plus, watching others eat all the food that you want to eat makes it hard for you to stick to eating healthy.

Though, it should be added that it’s okay to have unhealthy food every once in awhile, as long as you don’t indulge in these foods every day. Unhealthy food always tastes so much better when you haven’t had it in awhile, trust me on that one.

I ran across another article that said that students should stock up on these healthy items themselves, that way the option for healthy foods is available. I think this would be a good idea, because I know personally that if I buy healthy food I’m going to eat it and not let it go to waste, because I can’t afford to throw away my own money.

In addition to buying healthy food for you to eat or have available in your room, an easy thing that students can do is cook healthy meals themselves. There are so many websites that have healthy recipes available. I use SkinnyTaste to find recipes that are lower-calorie and healthier versions of dishes that I love, that way I don’t have to give up the meals that I love and I feel healthier.

In my next blog post I am going to make one of my favorite dishes from SkinnyTaste and share the recipe with all of you.

Eating healthy at college is hard, but by trying to eat leaner versions of the meals that you love and stocking up on fruits and vegetables, it’s easier.