When Was The Last Time You Ate A Real Meal?

When you are a kid, getting three meals a day is easy. Your mom prepares breakfast for you in the morning, there is a designated time for lunch during school and dinner is a good, balanced, home-cooked meal to round out the day. So, it seems like getting three meals a day should really be easy. But, for some reason, it really is not. In college, meals just seem to get fit in whenever they can be. A quick bite if you have later classes in the morning, a granola bar during your ten minutes until the top of the hour when you have to run across campus for back-to-back classes or in those few fortunate minutes before you pull that all-too-frequent all-nighter.  

Students are always so focused on work and running from class to class, meeting to meeting, that it seems they almost forget to eat. As students, we prioritize our studies often at the expense of our mental and physical health. While we can work and eat at the same time, we should avoid skipping meals just to keep typing that paper.  

Now, going home presents the question: “What did you have for lunch today?” And the answer to that question isn’t always something we want to share. “The freshman 15” is all too real, and it doesn’t speak only to weight gain but also weight loss. Eating unhealthily can mean junk food three times a day and the weight gain to match, but it can also mean skipping meals and the weight loss that follows. While we should focus on our schoolwork, we need to come to the realization that it can not be at the expense of our health. Exhaustion and a bad diet do not lead to healthy students.  

One way to better take care of our personal health would be to plan ahead, not only with our schoolwork but also with our eating habits. To better prepare ourselves for long weeks and short breaks from class, we should plan a regular trip to the grocery store, buy (semi) healthy foods and meal prep! It’s all too easy to end up on campus with not enough time to wait in line for food and end up with a vending machine candy bar as a meal or end up skipping a meal altogether. By preparing ahead, we at least allow ourselves to have something at least halfway decent to eat while we’re sitting on campus all day.  

Most of us live with roommates, too, so we can share in some of the shopping, meal preparation and cooking to help each other out and share the workload of leading more balanced lifestyles. When you share the workload, it really does not seem that bad. And in reality, we are not all studying 24/7 and can afford that extra half hour to make a real, healthy meal and avoid the bag of chips we shouldn’t even have sitting by our beds or the all too easy fast food that is open right across the street.

Since for most of us, this is the first time we’re living on our own, it is an adjustment. College can seem overwhelming as you navigate classes, clubs, friends and taking care of yourself all by yourself. But it’s all the more reason that we need to focus some of our time and energy on eating, sleeping and resting. Especially here, where the dining hall food isn’t inedible and Westwood and LA are so full of restaurants, we should not dread the question: “What did you have for lunch today?”