The first few weeks of the semester have flown by and we’re counting down the days until spring break. (I am, anyway!) Thoughts of sandy beaches, clear water, and tan skin cloud my thoughts while sitting through hours of class. As great as that sounds, there is one worry that seems to ruin it all—the thought of being seen in public in a bathing suit.
But don’t worry, ladies, there is still plenty of time to tone up those bods. With the hectic schedule of a college student, it’s hard to get to the gym as often as we’d like to, but even small changes in diet can make all the difference in getting your best beach body.
Altering your eating habits is the easiest way to shed those extra pounds. Most of us have been trained to eat three large meals a day, and to eat every last crumb off that plate. That’s our first problem right there. Instead of eating three large meals, have five small meals—a small breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Adjusting portion size is the quickest way to slim down. You can do this easily by using smaller bowls and plates so you don’t take as much food.
(limit your plate size, not your healthy food intake!)
Starting out your day with a balanced breakfast is key in setting the tone for a healthy day. When you skip breakfast, your body goes into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism and storing fat (ah!!). Even if you’re in a rush in the morning, you can still grab something to take on the go, like Greek yogurt. If you do have time to sit down for breakfast, go for an egg white omelet with veggies and peppers. Some other great options are oatmeal with berries or whole-wheat toast with jam. Basically, you just want to avoid breakfasts that are all carbs or all fat. Instead, go for whole-wheat, low-fat protein, and fruits and veggies.
Come mid morning, and you’re blood sugar is dropping, making you start to feel groggy. Before you let the hunger get the best of you, and you cave into your sugary snacks, grab a healthier option. If you don’t time to prepare something, go for an apple or banana and a cheese stick. The fruit will fulfill your sugar craving, and the cheese stick will give you some protein to hold you over until lunch. Or, have some wheat thins and hummus.
Yes, at lunchtime it’s easy and oh so tempting to make a big, heaping sandwich, or grab a juicy burger, but stop! There are healthier, and maybe even yummier options to choose from. Whip up some tuna salad with canned tuna, add just a touch of mayonnaise if you please, and give it some flavor with cut up grapes, onions, or dried cranberries. If you’re not a big tuna fan, make a salad. Instead of making a typical, boring one and drenching it with ranch (big no no!) mix it up by adding apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, and a light red wine dressing. A hard-boiled egg makes a quick a lunch as well, and is a great source of protein.
The afternoon snack can be similar to the mid-morning snack. A favorite of mine is carrots, celery, and cucumbers dipped in hummus. Another is grapefruit, which is filling, but incredibly good for you. Eat a handful of raw almonds or berries as you continue throughout your day.
The end of the day is when I usually eat my worst, so stay strong! Grilled chicken or fish should substitute anything fried and greasy. Green, leafy vegetables like asparagus, green beans or broccoli, make a good side. Get a little fix of carbs with whole wheat bread or quinoa.
After dinner, you’re going to want to indulge in something sweet. The temptations are strong to down an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s (we’ve all done it, don’t lie). Instead of the ice cream, however, have some sorbet or frozen yogurt. Or, even better, get your sugar fix from fruit. The less you eat stuff like ice cream, the less you crave it.
Drink a lot of water throughout the day. This will keep you hydrated and looking beautiful, but it will also keep you feeling fuller. They also say that if you cut alcohol out of your diet, you can shed those extra few pounds in just a of couple weeks.
All in all, don’t completely stress yourself out over what you eat. Don’t go crazy with calorie counting. You do need calories to survive, after all. Instead of choosing the lowest calorie option available, choose the smartest calories. For instance, at breakfast time, don’t waste 500 calories on a bagel loaded with cream cheese that won’t really give you any nutritional value. Instead, spend the calories on eggs or something that will give you protein.
When the time comes for spring break, be proud of the work you did and be confident about how good you look! And don’t stop the good habits just because spring break is over, summer will be here before you know it!