Daily Healthy Hacks

A healthy and balanced diet can provide so many daily benefits.  Who wouldn’t want to have more energy, feel full for longer, have a stronger immune system, and so many other things? In college, it is especially important to keep your diet in check, especially when you have so many food options around you that are often all-you-can-eat or fast food.  There are so many little ways you can tweak your eating habits that will not greatly impact the taste of your food- but it will impact the number of nutrients you consume, making your overall diet much healthier and fulfilling. And, as college students who lead extraordinarily busy lives we can use all the help we can get in fueling our bodies the right way! Here are a few diet hacks and tweaks I adhere to in order to keep me healthy and happy.

 

1. Don’t consume an extraordinary amount of liquid calories.  

With coffee, soda, and smoothies being popular daily drinks for college students, it is important to know and understand what you are drinking and how healthy or unhealthy it is based on fat content or sugar content.  Coffee, being the most consumed beverage on a college campus can be sneakily adding hundreds of calories to your day. Coffee with whole milk, regular sugar or a sugar-syrup additive can run you 300-500 calories, which is shocking and astonishing.  Consuming so much artificial sugar through regular sugar or flavored syrup may make it taste great in the moment, but it is not only bad for your body, it will only give you a sugar crash later on. In addition, soda and bottled smoothies contain so much added sugar.  

So, in order to avoid extra sugar and fat calories in your coffee, consider slowly switching to black coffee (no calories, yay!). Or, if you can’t fathom that, try using nonfat milk instead of whole milk or an UNSWEETENED milk alternative.  (Most milk alternative such as soy and almond milk have high amounts of added cane sugar so be sure to read the label). In addition, try switching to calorie-free sweeteners for coffee or a small splash of honey or agave nectar for tea (which are healthier than cane sugar). Also, try a sugar-free syrup added into your coffee because all Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks locations have that option.  

In addition, instead of soda, try flavored seltzer water with no calories to still get your fizz! Or if you really can’t crush your soda addiction, opt for a diet soda instead of a regular soda. And, overall, always check nutrition labels on any drink to check for any and all added sugars and artificial ingredients.  

 

2. Check your yogurt.

Yogurt is often perceived as very healthy because it has high protein and is a great natural probiotic.  But, college campuses are a mecca for every kind of unhealthy, sweet, and flavored yogurt. Consuming a fruit flavored non-greek yogurt will negate all the actual health benefits of yogurt because it simply has so much sugar.  

Greek yogurt is actually good for you, and filled with protein and natural probiotics. Instead of flavored regular yogurt opt for a plain 0% yogurt and add fresh berries or fruit to it for natural and healthy sugars.  Plain greek yogurt is so good for you because there is no sugar and can be tweaked to be exactly your taste as long (as you don’t add back all the extra sugar with sugary granola or too much dried fruit). Try plain greek yogurt as a snack to boost your energy and keep you full.  It is easy to keep in your dorm mini-fridge and inexpensive- perfect for college students who need a quick breakfast while running to an 8am class!

 

3. Switch to WHOLE GRAIN

Grabbing a white bagel or plain white bread is often the most easy and accessible option for a college student. But, white bread is very bad for you. White bread is stripped of essential fiber and other nutrients and is very processed.  It often contains added sugar and unhealthy preservatives.

Instead of white bread, opt for whole grain bread (not whole wheat).  Whole grain bread still has all the essential nutrients and fiber so it will keep you full for longer.  Overall, the taste of the bread is not much different, but the health benefits are. All dining halls and sandwich places contain whole grain bread options, so consider making the switch for a healthier sandwich.  

These three healthy hacks can make a world of difference in cutting out unhealthy and unnecessary calories without sacrificing taste at all.  I adhere strictly to these three rules; they are tried and tested as well and very easy for a college student to do. Happy (and healthy) eating!