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3 Ways to Stay Healthy While Living at College

OneRepublic was right when they said everything that kills us makes us feel alive, and that means booze and junk food for the typical college student. I mean, if you didn’t drunkenly inhale a greasy slice of Mangias pizza or funnel a few beers (legally, of course), did you even do the weekend right?

Anyone who claims it’s impossible to eat healthy in college isn’t trying hard enough. Yes, you need to put effort in a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not about having time…It’s about making time. Here are three tips on how to stay healthy while living at college:

1. Don’t underestimate the power of a salad

To create a healthy salad, first, begin with a base. What I love about the Hickey is it offers different options like spinach, Romaine and iceberg lettuce. Next, add toppings. I love salad because I can bulk up on toppings and not feel guilty about it like I do when I get fro-yo at Tasty Time. Load your salad up with a variety of fruits and veggies. The more color, the better. Third, pick protein. Meat is the secret weapon because it will help your salad keep you full for hours. To avoid a mid-afternoon snack, add meat to your salad like grilled chicken. You can also add other sources of protein like hard-boiled eggs or beans. Finally, dress it up. Salad dressings have fat and sodium, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat it. As long as you keep your servings in check, salad dressing won’t do much harm. You can also try a healthy alternative like hummus.

You might get sick of salad if you eat it every day for every meal, so just remember three criteria for your meals: lean protein, veggies and fruit.

2. Be mindful of liquids

I used to think that liquids were exempt from our daily calorie intake, but that’s not true. You would be surprised how many calories we drink in a day. Cappuccinos, juice and sports drinks seem harmless, but they’re full of sugar so it’s better to just stick to water. If you’re a coffee drinker, the calories in cream and sugar really add up. You use artificial sweetener? That doesn’t make it better. I love putting a splash of Hickey vanilla soymilk in my coffee to sweeten it instead.

3. Don’t ignore cravings

When you get a sweet tooth, don’t ignore it. When we ignore our bodies and what they’re craving, we feel miserable. Thankfully, there is a healthy substitute for every dessert. Next time you’re craving ice cream, go to the yogurt bar. Raisins are a great substitute for chocolate chips on yogurt, or you can add cantaloupe or pineapple.  But, I can’t stress this enough—do not deprive yourself of sweet treats and junk food. 

If you indulge in cheat foods occasionally, you teach yourself how to eat tempting food in moderation but don’t be afraid to have cheat snacks because labeling foods as “forbidden” will only stress you out.

Don’t focus on getting skinny. Focus on getting lean. Don’t focus on deprivation and restriction. Focus on moderation and healthy choices. Above all, remember to love your body because it’s capable of anything. 

Freshman at St. Bonaventure University
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