As college students, let’s be honest, we don’t always have the best eating habits. Coming home from a late night out, sometimes you get a bad case of the midnight munchies, and all you want is that delicious bag of chips in your cabinet or pint of Ben & Jerry’s that’s waiting in the freezer. Or maybe one morning you miss your alarm and barely have enough time to get dressed for class. Skipping breakfast is okay, right?
Well, not really.
Her Campus spoke to expert nutritionists Shelly Marie Redmond, author of Eat Well and Be Fabulous: A Guide for the Modern Day Woman, and Rebecca Mohning of the George Washington University's Weight Management Center, about how to steer clear of bad eating habits. If any of these eating habits sound familiar, we’ll show you how to get back on track.
Eating While Standing
Bad Habit: You are on your way to your third class of the day and are starving. You buy a sandwich and a bag of chips from a campus deli and eat it on the way to the lecture.
Why it’s unhealthy: You’re not paying attention to what or how much you’re eating.
“If there is standing involved, we are distracted which leads to eating too quickly and overeating,” says Mohning.
According to she-fit.com, our mind does not recognize when we eat on the go or while standing, leading us to snack afterwards.
Since you don’t have any place to set a plate, or fork and knife, food that is eaten standing up also tends to be more “grab-n-go,” says Redmond.
“Often, 'grab-n-go' foods tend to be higher in calories, like candy bars, or sugar rich drinks,” she says.
Sometimes, in instances such as grabbing food between classes, there seems to be no option other than grab-n-go. In that case, Redmond recommends opting for a grab-n-go meal, such as yogurt and a banana, or peanut butter and a banana, that is still nutritious.
“Also, as a student, look for omega-3 rich foods for brain health,” Redmond says.
Her favorite choices: tuna or salmon packets (look for vacuumed sealed packs) and walnuts (look for individual packets), which are perfect for keeping in your bag.
Bad Habit: You wake up in the morning and don’t feel hungry. Instead of your usual bowl of cereal, you pour a cup of coffee and head out the door.
Why it’s unhealthy: You’ll be starving by the time lunch rolls around and will want to eat just about anything in sight.
Former Her Campus writer Carlene Helble can relate: “You really don't care what you eat as long as you eat NOW! Unfortunately, what you end up eating could be Taquitos plus a Pop-Tart.”
Redmond says that by skipping breakfast, or any other meal, “we can tend to binge at our next meal due to hunger.”
Not only will you be more likely to binge, but you’ll also be more likely to eat the fried chicken finger basket instead of the pasta and salad.
“Skipping meals and snacks leads to becoming too hungry which can result in the wrong food choice or eating too much at once,” says Mohning. “Missing meals also results in missing the opportunity to get in the necessary foods that we need in one day.”
Remember when Mom (and just about every other adult in your life) used to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? They weren’t lying.
“Eating breakfast can result in eating fewer calories throughout the day than if you did not eat breakfast,” says Mohning. “Breakfast also helps people to have more energy throughout the day and to think more clearly.”
That means you’ll pay better attention in class, and feel more awake around that 3 p.m. lecture.
If the issue in the morning is time, some options for a good grab-and-go breakfast are yogurt and granola, a handful of whole grain low-sugar cereal mix with nuts and chopped dried fruit (in a zip-lock bag), or a granola bar and a banana.
Eat these when you get to class, or have a few minutes to sit before it starts, that way you’re not falling into the other habit of eating while standing or walking!