7 Disastrous College Eating Habits

The transition from high school to college often comes with a cost that we seldom take into account; for a lot of students,  their eating habits show a dramatic, detrimental and disastrous transformation. While there might have been fewer things to do during high school, now we have to organize our lives between exhausting classes, demanding jobs, extracurricular activities, and dedicating time to our family and friends, as well as to ourselves. Consequently, it’s no surprise that eating healthy, as important as it may sound, may not be one of our top priorities. Whether it’s because of academic pressure, pure laziness, lack of time or a limited budget, here are some of the ways students tend to drift apart from healthy eating habits after encountering college life.


1. You eat after you finish studying.

Whether you had to skip lunch to study for a complicated Organic Chemistry test or you had to finish writing a 10-page essay before midnight, you always put your studies before your nutritional needs. If your attitude is: no matter how much time the accomplishment of your task requires, finishing it always comes first. This type of behavior, however, will not only get you extremely hangry, but it will also have serious repercussions if prolonged, on your mental ability to focus.

If you're hungry, at least eat a snack. If you're thinking about how much you want to eat, you won't be able to process info as well.


2. You only eat microwave-ready meals.

Every Ramen noodles expert or Chef Boyardee connoisseur would have nothing to eat if it weren’t for the existence of microwave-ready meals. Studies have shown that these meals are generally of low nutritional content, having high amounts of saturated fats as well as increased levels of salt. They are also extremely wasteful! That plastic packaging is not biodegradable.


3. 2-week-old leftovers


We understand if you don’t want to throw out the mouth-watering lasagna your parents made two weeks ago before you left to college. However, it might be better if you don’t end up eating it after all. The Mayo Clinic certified dietitian, Katherine Zeratsky, claims that after three to four days of keeping the leftovers in the refrigerator, there’s an increased risk to suffer from food poisoning.


4. You only eat fast food.

The accessibility and speed behind fast food consumption explain why some college students engage in this terrible eating practice. Furthermore, the close proximity of fast foods to campus may also be the reason why you have probably become a Wendy’s or Burger King coupon collector. Even though it might seem impossible to resist the new limited-edition french fries, you need to be conscious that fast food consumption could lead to the unwanted freshman 15 or to worse health problems like obesity and diabetes, as a recent study has shown.


5. You have an insane sweet tooth.

Let’s face it. We all have sugar cravings. You might even have a stash of Nutella and a collection of Snickers beside your night lamp, and that’s alright, as long as you don’t abuse an excessive consumption of sugar. The reality is that college students won’t stop eating unhealthy sugary foods. However, be mindful of what you’re eating and try hard to limit your sugar intake.


6. You always eat at 1 AM.


The very well known (among college students) late-night eating is not an intrinsically negative practice. However, the fact that late night eating tends to be associated with the consumption of unhealthy foods is what makes this a dangerous thing to do. Next time you’re thinking about late night munching, step aside from greasy foods and you’ll feel better if you go to sleep.  


7. The biggest problem: money as an obstacle to eat


Out of all the mentioned bad eating habits, I consider this one to be the worst: not being able to eat because of not having enough money. The fact that we, as college students, have to focus on having good grades, assisting class, doing homework and studying for never-ending tests is enough to worry about. However, in practice, this is not our only preoccupation. With the rising costs of college tuition and a generally increased cost of living, there’s undoubtedly an eating crisis behind college students in the U.S.


Nevertheless, college hunger is not an issue solely relevant to the U.S. In the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico, college students also struggle to deal with the price of studying and being able to afford the costs of living. Thankfully, efforts from both college students of the UPR-RP as well as from members of the community have made the reality more bearable for those who try their best to eat their daily bread.

Whether we have the ability to help with donations, voluntary work or monetary support, it’s a pivotal social responsibility to reduce the prevalence of the worst eating habit of all: college students eating nothing because of a lack of money.




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