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SPRING into Health and Fitness Part One: Nutrition Guide

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Syracuse chapter.

Happy spring, collegiettes! With winter coming to an end and bikini season quickly approaching, I’m sure I am not the only one getting back into my warm weather healthy, fit lifestyle. The winter months tend to leave us feeling unmotivated to exercise (or even leave our humble abodes) and in need of warm usually less healthy food choices.  If you have succumbed to the soul-lifting joy of comfort food or the immunity to cold from excessive alcohol intake, and maybe put on a few hibernation lbs, don’t worry, you still have time to tone up before trying to squeeze back into your favorite cutoff denim shorts! Here are a few steps you can take in order to undo some of the damage of unhealthy decisions made over the last few weeks and/or months, and get yourself swimsuit ready!

Cut down on alcoholespecially beer. Are all of those beers you’d be downing during basketball games at Chuck’s better than looking tan, toned, and sexy sipping an ice cold water on the beach this summer? Didn’t think so! A 12 oz Budlight packs 110 calories, and you know you never stop at just one beer. Cutting down a few beers on nights out will save you some serious calories and de-puff any signs of a beer belly! Try drinking water while partaking in alcohol consumption of any kind- the volume of the H2O will make you feel fuller and slow down the rate of beer-drinking. Also, instead of ordering juice or soda in your mixed drink of choice, try asking for soda water with a splash of juice!

Practice portion control. This is so critical in any fitness endeavor, and not many people have mastered or understand the importance of this skill. Just because you are trying to drop some lbs/tone up, does not mean you have to give up all the delicious foods you love most in this world, nor does it mean eat three times as much food as long as it is “healthy.” Learn to set up your meal with the largest portion consisting of vegetables, the lowest portion of sugars/empty carbohydrates, and with a decent-sized portion of lean protein and complex carbohydrates and fiber in the middle. For example, fill half of your plate with sautéed veggies, one quarter of your plate with grilled chicken, and one quarter of your plate with cooked quinoa. Treat yourself with a piece of dark chocolate or a scoop of nonfat frozen Greek yogurt!

Eat well, and eat often. Eating smaller meals 4-5 times a day or every 3-4 hours will help keep your metabolism running faster and keep you feeling fuller longer. Try eating smaller versions of your usual three main meals per day with a small protein-packed snack in between each!

Stay hydrated by drinking TONS of water! In order to lose retained water weight, you have to drink more water to flush it out of your system. Dehydration also slows down the fat-burning process, and without a sufficient amount of water, the process of burning calories cannot function properly. It may also trick you into feeling less hungry in between and even during meals. Carry a water bottle with you at all times and drink up!

Eat your vegetables and stock up on protein! These types of foods are your new best friends. Challenge yourself to eat some sort of veggie with every meal. They are low in calories, but still fill you up. They are also jam-packed with nutrients your body needs on a daily basis. Not only can they facilitate weight-loss, but they can also improve the condition of your hair and skin! Foods high in protein take more work to digest and metabolize, which means the body burns more calories in processing them. They fill you up and keep you satisfied for much longer than most other foods. Need I say more? Eat up!

Hopefully this helps you get on the right track toward a healthier, more fit you! 

SU cheerleader obsessed with coffee, fashion, and fitness!