Eating healthy can be hard when you’re in college. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the infamous “Freshman 15”. When I first came to college, I feared this phenomenon, so I took some steps in order to stay healthy and I thought I’d share them.
First of all, the dining halls are pretty much a 24/7 buffet. It is easy to get carried away with the amounts of junk food offered in the dining halls. One of the steps I took, when coming to college, was limiting myself to one junk food item per week. When I say junk food I’m mostly talking about fried foods and pizza.
Another trick I learned, in order to stay healthy and avoid overeating, was the holy grail of salads. I often found myself starving by the end of the day, even with a decent sized lunch. In the beginning of the year, I was overwhelmed by all the food choices in the dining halls and it became easy to overlook salads. However, I quickly realized salads were a great option for kicking my hunger to the curb. Eating a salad first, allows me to eat a smaller portion of my entree. Salads are also a way to add a substantial amount of nutrients to your diet.
Preparing yourself for a long day can also help avoid overeating or nutrient deficiency. Going from class to class with no time for lunch is a common problem for me and even some of my friends. I found that if I was starving in class it was harder to focus, so I begun preparing and packing some snacks in my backpack the night before a busy day. If you have a sweeter tooth when snacking, granola, protein bars, nuts and trail mix are all fine options. These snacks quickly became lifesavers for me. If you’re craving something on the saltier side, rice crackers, and rice cakes instead of potato chips are some healthy yet satisfying choices. I have found all of these options to be fulfilling and satisfy all my snacking needs.
Water is your best friend. I was honestly surprised to see so many soda options in the dining halls. Pumping yourself up with sugar might seem like a great way to stay energized, but it comes with the price of a sugar crash. Not to mention, drinking the empty calories. I haven’t drank soda on a regular basis since I was in 10th grade. I decided to cut it out because of the absurd amount of cavities I was continuing to get. I started to hate the way I felt in class after getting soda at lunchtime. After cutting out soda almost completely, I rarely ever craved it anymore. I began drinking sparkling water if I wanted some carbonation. Sparkling water is a great alternative for soda and other sugary drinks. If you want a little more flavor, a fun trick is to add a little bit of lemonade to a lime or lemon flavored sparkling water, it does have more calories and sugar, but it dilutes the lemonade while adding flavor to your water.
Last but not least, our favorite topic, desert. Cut out all deserts, for forever. LOL kidding, could you imagine?! Actually, most diet plans and weight loss books advise doing the opposite and recommend allowing yourself to indulge once in a while. For me, I enjoy guilt free desserts. I have found that sorbet and dark chocolate are my go to’s when it come to desert. I usually treat myself to healthier desserts once or twice a week. However, if I’m at a nice restaurant with family or friends, and someone suggests the triple decker chocolate cake, well, then…no doubt I’m having a bite, or maybe 10.
While eating healthy in college can be hard, here are some small steps that I took in order to keep my hunger to a minimum and cut out unnecessary things from my diet. I’m not a nutritionist, and these are just some tips that I found useful for me, and thought I’d share.