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8 Tips for Healthy Eating as a College Student

College is hard. Between balancing classes, homework and social life, it’s hard to even think about what you’re eating. It’s hard to avoid bad eating habits when you’re busy all the time. Eating healthy can help with stress, sleep and even improve your memory! It may seem complicated to get started on the right path, so here are some tips and tricks to eat healthy as a college student.

  1. Eat breakfast

It’s important to try to not skip breakfast. Melissa Lerner, Certified Nutrition Coach and Founder of the Micro Modify Method, said, “If you don’t eat breakfast, then your metabolism doesn’t burn as much or as long for the rest of the day.” 

  1. Avoid Messaging about the Freshman 15

Many individuals’ body will change a lot in college. It’s really important to eat well and treat your body right. Lerner said, “fit does not mean thin, thin does not mean healthy and healthy doesn’t mean fit or thin.” It is important to remember that gaining weight is not the end of the world.

  1. Drink Lots of Water

This should be self-explanatory. Water nourishes your body in so many ways. Lerner says the average college student should drink 72 ounces a day. Some quick tips to reach that goal are always having a water bottle on you and keeping a water bottle on your desk while studying.

“I have a 32-ounce water bottle that I carry around every day. I’m not the best at drinking water, but I have at least one of these a day,” said Freshman Kaya Bogot.

  1. Limit Sugar Intake

It’s so important to choose food wisely. Just because you’re limiting sugar does not mean you need to cut out sweet treats! There is a big difference between refined sugar and fructose. If you’re craving sugar, try to wait until the afternoon.

Lerner says sugar is like an addiction; if you have sugar in the morning, you’ll want it all day long. 

  1. Master the Dining Hall

Portions are key. With the dining halls being buffet style, it is much harder to control your portions. Another tip is to utilize the salad bar. In a dining hall with tons of unhealthy food, salad is a great way to get all your nutrients. 

  1. No Late-Night Snacking

An easy way to stay healthy is to avoid eating too late in the day. At night your body doesn’t need as much energy, so anything you eat ends up being stored, leading to weight gain. Eating late at night also impacts your hormone levels making it harder to sleep. After a night out, late-night snacking may seem necessary. If you need to eat late at night, Lerner recommends something with protein. 

  1. Choose Healthier Options When Out

When you do go out to eat, try to choose healthy options. You can do it at almost any fast food place, even Mcdonald’s. Lerner said to check out breakfast options first, then grilled chicken, always use mustard instead of mayo, and get a yogurt parfait instead of a McFlurry. 

  1. Try New Things

College is about trying new things, some of which can be food. Bogot said she tried tofu for the first time here at UMD, and now she eats it almost every day.

Sydney is from Northbrook, Illinois and is studying at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism. She is looking forward to gaining more writing experience.