Sabrina Doyle, Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist of Nutritional Concepts has shared some excellent advice with us. For more information visit www.nutritionalconcepts.ie
Eating well as a college student is hard. And why wouldn’t it be? For the first time in your life, you’re on your own, making decisions about what you should and shouldn’t eat. You’re surrounded by salty snacks and sweets, you’re almost always in a rush, and controlling what you consume without fantastic cooking skills can be majorly challenging.
But college is also the place where you can start establishing good eating patterns that will last you a lifetime. Here are 12 ways to improve your college diet.
- Keep healthy snacks around. It’s easy to eat healthy if you keep the crisps and sweets to a minimum and stock your apartment with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, rice cakes, and multi-grain crackers. Apples and citrus fruits can sit out for up to two weeks, and raw vegetables with hummus are good options too. You’ll be more likely to reach for these than junk food if you keep them nearby or in your backpack.
- Learn proper portion size. To avoid eating too much of even the healthiest foods, keep track of how much you’re eating. For most people, meat servings should be about the size of a deck of cards and other servings vary by the type of food.
- Vary your meals. When the on-campus cafe has your favourite foods daily it can be easy to return to those old favourites every day. Changing up your diet from day to day is an important part of good nutrition so take advantage of the variety of selections available to you.
- Eat breakfast. Start your day off right with a healthy meal when you get up. Whether you’re rolling out of bed at noon or up at the crack of dawn for class, make sure you start your day with a balanced, healthy meal.
- Drink moderately. While college students are known for their partying, you can still have a good time without consuming all the calories that come along with bingeing on beer, plus you’ll avoid the hangovers and other negative effects. Drink in moderation and you can have an enjoyable time without harming your health.
- Don’t fight stress by eating. It can be tempting to reach for a bag of crisps or some cookies when you’re stressed out about an approaching exam. Eating won’t help your stress go away, so avoid filling up on snacks. Try exercising or taking a break instead.
- Drink water. Drinking enough water can help boost your concentration as well as keep you from overeating. Make sure to keep hydrated as you go through your day by bringing water with you.
- Limit sugary and caffeinated beverages. Beverages may not fill you up, but they sure can help fatten you up and have a detrimental effect on your overall health. You don’t have to completely give up fizzy drinks and coffee, but you should scale back to keep yourself in tip top shape.
- Try to eat fruits and veggies. Even if fruits and vegetables don’t comprise some of your favourite foods, try to incorporate at least a few of them into your diet each day.
- Limit junk food. Junk food is fast and easy and many students end up eating a lot of it while they’re on the run to class or to work. While a little fast food now and again won’t really hurt you, make sure it doesn’t become a habit.
- Don’t skip meals. With so much to do, it’s easy to forgo eating to run off to class or the library. Don’t skip meals. Set up foods you can eat on the run so you’ll have the energy to keep going.
- Take vitamins. If you feel like you aren’t getting the nutrition you need from your diet, don’t hesitate to supplement it with some multi-vitamins to stay healthy and illness free.