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Wellness

How to Eat Healthier at School This Year

Eating healthy and having a well-balanced diet is extremely important, especially for young adults like us. When we eat well, we sleep better, concentrate more, and have increased energy. Not only that, but it reduces our risk of medical issues – including high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases – later down the road. As college students, a majority of us struggle to maintain a reasonably healthy diet. Easy access to junk foods, unhealthy snacking, and stress-eating hangs over us like dark storm clouds. Here are three easy ways that we can stay on top of our eating habits this new year.

Stay away from too much caffeine.

Drinking a cup, two, or even three cups of coffee is perfectly fine, but try not to depend on caffeinated drinks in order to keep you awake. Relying on things like soda and energy drinks has proven to cause insomnia and restlessness, as well as anxiety. A trick that I’ve found helpful to maintain my concentration during late night study sessions is to reward myself with something at certain checkpoints. For example, for every 5 pages I read, I’ll allow myself 5 minutes on my phone to relax. Another tip to keep your energy levels up is to work out – whether it be running on the treadmill or going for a walk around campus – exercise can give you that extra boost of energy to help get you through your day.

Stack up on healthy snacks.

When living on your own it can become easy to fill up your pantry with solely junk food. After a late night out, grabbing a delicious bag of chips (and probably eating the whole thing) is just too tempting. If you make an effort to fill your shelves with healthier alternatives, it’ll become harder to continually snack late at night or when you’re stressed. A few things that are good staples to have include popcorn (full of fiber & antioxidants!), single-serve rice cups (which can be found in tons of varieties), protein bars, and whatever other healthy alternatives that please your taste buds.

Don’t fall into the dining hall “trap."

Dining hall food is probably the number one contributor to what we know as the “Freshman 15”. We have tons of delicious food at our fingertips at nearly all hours of the day – how could we resist eating it all? A tip that I’ve found helpful to avoid eating unhealthy amount of dining hall food every day is to give myself “cheat days”. I know this sounds like a cliché “dieting trick”, but if I ate Chik-fil-A every time that I went to the dining hall, I would not be able to function. Designating a few days out of the week to eat whatever you want and leaving the rest of those days for healthier options is definitely a step in the right direction.

These things can definitely be altered based on your preferences and how you want to fuel your body, as long as you remember that eating well allows us to be our best selves – physically and mentally.

Sarah Heyman

South Carolina '24

Sarah is currently a junior at the University of South Carolina.
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