Healthy Eating for College Students
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying away from fast food can be quite difficult for most college students. College freshmen are constantly faced with the possibility of gorging themselves on the ‘all-you-can-eat’ dorm food. Although it may be a challenge to put down that piece of chocolate ice cream cake and Pepsi, it can be done.
The UC Irvine Health Education Center is a great place to find out more facts and information about healthy eating. According to a brochure handed out by the Health Center called, ‘Eating Well With No Time and No Money,’ some healthy breakfast items include bagels, whole-grain muffins, string cheese or low-fat and nonfat yogurt. It recommends bringing a lunch that was prepared the night before instead of buying it, as well as bringing a vacuum bottle for carrying soup and hot drinks.
For dinner, it suggests beginning with a starch serving and adding vegetables, fish or low-fat cheese and to bake, broil or stirfry the combination. Lastly, one should round out the meal with bread, fruit or salad.
College students are usually on tight budgets and UCI Health Education Center’s Nutrition Educator Vanessa Noriega has some tips for eating healthy on a thin wallet.
‘I think that the best way to do that is to eat a high-fiber diet because fiber makes you feel full longer. Therefore, [you] eat less, consume fewer calories and [you] pay less for food,’ Noriega said.
She suggests high-fiber foods such as fruits and produce because ‘these kinds of foods keep you fuller longer and keep you energerized and stabilize your blood sugar.’
Noriega recommends going on the Web site http://www.mypyramid.gov in which one can input age, gender and activity level to calculate how much and what foods one should be eating every day.
Noriega advises staying away from supplements, caffeine pills and coffee.
‘I think there are a lot healthier ways to keep yourself awake and prepared for your day. Drinking a cup of apple juice or eating a banana in the morning has been shown to have the same effect as a cup of coffee as far as keeping you awake,’ Noriega said.
The key is moderation. Try to avoid eating unhealthy foods such as chocolate, fast food and frozen foods every day. If you are not used to that, try cutting down slowly. If you are addicted to Krispy Kreme doughnuts and usually eat them every other day, try cutting down to eating weekly and then biweekly and so forth. For refreshments, instead of drinking soda, drink water instead. Drinks such as soda are filled with sugar and coffee is filled with caffeine, both of which are unhealthy.
It’s best to eat three meals a day at regular intervals so you don’t feel hungry too easily and overcompensate by eating too much at the next meal.
If you feel hungry between meals, eat fruit instead. Fruits will fill you up until the next meal and they’re healthy as well. Fruits are also an excellent substitute for dessert. Lastly, remember to eat plenty of vegetables during meals.
Many people say that eating is a social event and that they feel pressured to eat unhealthily when friends get together to eat at a fastfood restaurant. You can counter this by ordering salads at McDonalds, such as the fruit and walnut salad. Also, instead of ordering hamburgers and french fries at a restaurant, order a sandwich.
For freshmen or people who eat at ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffets, remember that just because the food is there, it doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Know your limitations and once you are full, stop eating.
Eating healthy can be a slow and tough process, but it is worth it to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Believe that you can eat healthy, take gradual steps to do it, and you will be healthier.