At college, you can be friends with whomever, do whatever, and worst of all, eat whatever. With accessibility to so many foods and places, it’s hard to control yourself. It’s easiest to take the “lazy” route and grab some fast food or throw Easy Mac in the microwave, but in reality there’s so many ways to make smart, healthy choices in the dining rooms or on the streets of Oakland. Here are some pointers:
1. Add some fruits or greens to every meal… even if it’s just on the side! As a freshman, I’ve come to realize that my plan to have perfect eating habits is far from ideal. I head to Market with thoughts of a luscious green salad in my head, yet I somehow end up with pizza and pasta on my plate. After a week of making excuses for all my poor food choices in the cafeterias, I’ve discovered that you can still indulge while getting some nutrition: just add some healthy sides! Having cereal for breakfast? Spice it up and add banana slices to it. Taking a granola bar on the go? Take an apple also- they’re easy to carry and they’ll fill you up!
2. Don’t turn a cold shoulder to the calorie listing on the menu- When you go to get food on the streets of Oakland, whether it be at Panera, Qdoba, Noodles and Company, etc., ever realize the calorie count on the menu? Yes, I understand, I try and ignore it too, but in reality, why should we ignore the cold truth? Those calories are there to let you know what you’re consuming- next time, pay attention to them. It’s hard to make a healthier choice when you have your mind set on your favorite meal, but really consider if what you’re eating is worth the 900 calories.
3. Try to swap out fried foods for a salad- It’s hard to say no to anything that’s fried. Between chicken fingers, french fries, or any of the delicious oily yet tasty foods, you’re consuming products that are severely detrimental to your health. Instead of eating fries with your burger or fried chicken sandwich, why not have a small salad on the side? Although substituting a salad for a side of french fries is definitely a big improvement, the best alternative- and the most depressing- is to take a night off from the fried food and have a salad as your main dish. Substitution and determination is key.
4. On the go doesn’t always have to mean fast food- Whenever I have class early in the morning and don’t have time to make some breakfast before, I find myself in the basement of the cathedral getting a chocolate croissant from Cathedral Coffee, or making my way to Starbucks for one of their delicious treats. You may not think that something quick and easy can be healthy, but yogurts, fruits, and granola bars are few of the many alternative breakfast options that will leave you full and satisfied.
5. In a rush throughout the day? Pack your own lunch- When you have a tight class schedule and just want some quick food to grab, it’s easy to turn to one of the student unions or fast food places on the street to grab something fried unhealthy, and easy. Instead, try to pack a lunch in your backpack that you can eat in between your classes- that way you’ll also save time on having to run and get some chick-fil-a or taco bell!
6. Avoid those sneaky snacks- Chips may seem harmless, but they’re secretly drenched in oils and reeking of calories. Because they’re so small and light, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking most are healthy. Rather than snacking on those when you’re stressed or hungry, try and have some alternative snacks: peanut butter, cheese and crackers, yogurt, hummus and pita, or anything else that will fill you up!
7. Don’t be lazy… leave your room! – Easy Mac, A bag of chips, and a pint of ice cream what do they all have in common? Well, they’re all high in fat and carbohydrates, and they’re all easy. Most students who lean towards eating these foods do so because they feel lazy and want something easily accessible. Unfortunately, accessible is not beneficial for our bodies. Try to plan a trip out for lunch or dinner with your friends. You’ll have to walk there, which means some exercise, and you’ll have a less narrow variety of options.
With the freedom and availability to so many food options that comes with college, it’s hard to stay true to a strict eating regime. By simply modifying your eating habits slightly, you can beat the typical college