College students encounter many responsibilities, expectations, and challenges on a daily basis. All of this can make It quite difficult for college students to practice and maintain healthy choices. However, making conscious efforts to practice healthy habits will help to ward off the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen” and have an overall happy and healthy well-being. In this post I will share basic tips for college students on how to practice shopping and eating healthy.
In college, your budget may be a bit small for grocery shopping. However, if you nourish your body with good foods, then you won’t have to spend as much money in the long run on junk foods which just make you even more hungry or sluggish. When you’re shopping, try to shop healthy. Make it easy for yourself to eat right by purchasing healthy food options. It’s okay to splurge on a few of your favorite unhealthy snacks but try to limit it to just one or a few.
If you haven’t seen the documentaries Fed Up and Food, Inc. I HIGHLY recommend checking those out. I think you can watch them on Netflix, but you may be able to find them for free online. The reason I suggest watching these is because they really go in-depth about consumer trends in the US and how they have had an effect on our health. The biggest takeaway from these is to become conscious of how much sugar is in your food. Sugar is pretty much a drug and it is hidden in so many foods. The way that sugar works is that it tricks your brain into thinking that it is full, but then a little while later you’re hungry again. So, just because on the package it says, “low fat” or “organic”, it still may not be good for you because it is loaded with sugar. So next time you’re shopping check out how much sugar is on the label—it will probably shock you! There are some cereals that have more sugar in one serving than a can of soda! Just being aware of what goes into your body and its effects can influence the way that we shop.
When we are at home with our family, we are quite spoiled by the good food that is prepared. In college we don’t really have that luxury which makes it hard to resist eating out and eating unhealthily. Eating out is a budget buster AND a belly buster. Having a healthy diet can help to boost your immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and improve your overall health. So, here are a few tips for eating healthy:
- Learn proper portion size: Remember that moderation is key for anything in your life. This is especially true for food. It is quite easy to mindlessly eat while studying or binge-watching Netflix. So, try to become more aware of and track how much you are eating. You can eat too much of even the healthiest of foods. Just keep in mind that moderation, variety, and balance are essential to staying healthy! Which leads me to my next tip…
- Snacking: Snacking throughout the day can be a great way to monitor and keep your appetite in check throughout the day. It can always stop you from mindlessly eating or eating for comfort. I tend to eat several small meals throughout the day (essentially, I just graze and snack all day). It is important to not skip meals throughout the day so that you can keep your energy and attention.
- Meal/snack prep: To make things even simpler for yourself, after you go shopping go ahead and portion out your snacks and meals. Fill snack-size Ziploc bags with carrots or nuts so that you can just grab them on the way out. Having things already prepared will make you more likely to eat your healthy choices and avoid eating out.
- Make an eating schedule: This may sound tedious, but it can be quite helpful. Typically, my daily diet goes like this: Glass of water, breakfast, (sometimes a mid-morning snack), light lunch (usually a salad), a smoothie around mid-afternoon, dinner, then a glass of water. This isn’t to say that I strictly follow this every day, but it helps me to have a routine and keep track of what I have consumed.
- Learn to cook: Equip yourself with simple, cheap, and healthy recipes that you can cook yourself. Learning how to cook can be quite fun but more importantly, it’s great for your health and budget. On Pinterest you can find tons of quick and simple healthy recipes that will help you to stay track.
- Invest in a blender: I have mentioned before that every day I drink a smoothie. This usually takes the place of a snack, but it is packed with a lot of veggies, nuts, and fruits. Making a smoothie everyday can be quite fun, but it is also quite nutritious. I used to buy fresh fruit prep my smoothies ahead of time, but that became very time-consuming. Now, I just buy frozen fruit and mix it in with a banana, juice or milk, spinach, and chia seeds.
Staying on top of your eating habits is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It will help you to have more energy and focus on your schoolwork. It is totally okay to indulge every now and then by eating out with friends or snacking on ice cream. The most important thing is to just try and be more aware of what you are eating and how much. Being mindful will help you to make better decisions!