Well it’s that time of year again. The sun has once again succeeded in the climb to its zenith of the summer solstice, and has now begun its gradual decent. Progressively cooler temperatures are chasing the yelping Dog Days of summer on their way toward the equator, and soon the skies will be filled with flocks of geese and birds joining in the annual pilgrimage south. In Minnesota we’ll soon be doing our own flocking to the countless orchards dotted across our land of 10,000 lakes, and sipping warm apple cider in front of a crackling bonfire in a desperate attempt to soak up every last remaining moment of outdoor activity as we gradually descend into hibernation mode.
This time of year is a time filled with great changes and migrations, and perhaps none are more profound and life changing than that of the college student. College is a time for expanding your mind and your horizons, testing your prowess of time management, honing your impeccable ability to write like the wind when you’re under the gun, and taking on a world of new challenges. Perhaps the biggest single challenge students face year after year is the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle while in the midst of so many demands, both scholastically and socially. Below are 10 weapons of a two part plan that will aid you in your defense against the impending onslaught of unhealthy habits, which at this moment are precariously perched and awaiting the opportunity to attack.
Part 1- Eating Healthy in College
1. Drink Less Beer/Alcohol – C’mon, you knew it was coming. Definitely not the most popular recommendation, but with the typical beer being 100 to 180 calories per 12 ounces, indulging in moderation is truly one of the most effective habits against weight gain. If you’re going to indulge, it would behoove you to check out both the list of My Top 20 Healthiest Beers, as well as 3 Muscle and Alcohol Truths first.
2. Eat Regularly – eating regularly will help to keep your energy levels up, and will also help to keep you from effectively cramming the caloric content of a days worth of meals into one meal that happens to take place at 10 pm.
3. Control Your Portions – Avoid sizes containing the words mega, super, and large.
4. Take and Eat – Avoid the temptation of eating directly from the bag or carton. Taking what you plan to eat, and then putting the container away will help to keep your portion control front and center, which will allow you to better manage your portion control and avoid overeating.
5. Avoid Cafeteria Trays – Avoiding cafeteria trays will assist you with portion control by limiting what you can eat at one time to what you can carry in two hands. If you need an assistant to help carry your lunch, you’re probably eating too much.
6. Snack Smart – avoid snacking late at night, such as when cramming for an all-nighter. Keep healthier snacks around like Greek Yogurt, protein bars with low sugar, fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts like almonds. Snacks of this caliber are much more nutrient dense than snacks like chips and candy, and will therefore satisfy your hunger much more efficiently.
7. Don’t Pill Pop – Forget the weight loss pills as many can be dangerous and the effects are rather short lived.
8. Drink Water – Ensuring that your body is well hydrated will help to keep you performing at your best both mentally and physically. Proper hydration keeps your skin and internal organs healthy. Be sure to sip on water consistently, even if you don’t feel thirsty, as feeling thirsty is an early sign of being partially dehydrated.
9. Allow One Cheat Day – Allow yourself one cheat day per week on which you allow yourself to indulge in absolutely anything your heart desires.
10. Eat this Not That – College life is filled with grabbing food on the go with friends, so I strongly recommend picking up the book Eat This Not That! Restaurant Survival Guide: The No-Diet Weight Loss SolutionFood Counter Books). I totally love this book! The book breaks down some of the most common choices people make at various restaurants, which coincidentally tend to be some of the unhealthiest dishes on the menus, and then offers several alternative “healthier” choices. Some of the recommendations may surprise you. For instance, did you know that by opting for a Big ‘N Tasty at McDonalds over the Chicken Selects, you’ll save yourself 240 calories and 11 grams of fat? Check it out!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your journey with us! Feel free to share any recommendations you have for healthy eating in college in the comments section below, or say whatever feeds your needs.
Part two will be coming soon, so stay alert!