Food is life. You can't deny that. But as a college student with a vast amount of freedom, it can often be hard to hunker down and actually think about what you are consuming while eating in the dining hall. While many dining halls offer a buffet style option to get breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is easier than you think to load up your entire plate and then go back for seconds and then get some dessert. That's a huge no-no if you would like to stay healthy and manage your weight throughout your four years at college.
1. Count your calories.
The first step to eating healthy is looking at the amount of calories a particular food has. Many dining halls blatantly spell out the portion size and the amount of calories said food has, which is a major plus. Often times college students are in a rush so they try to pick out anything and everything that looks appetizing, but spending a few extra seconds looking at the amount of calories will be worthwhile in the long run.
2. For breakfast, don't load up on carbs.
To start off your day, you don’t necessarily have to go to the dining hall and fill up on tons of carbs with pancakes, donuts and hash browns. You can stay in the comfort of your dorm and chow down on a granola bar or fruit instead. Not only is that food better for you, but you'll get to stay in the warmth of your dorm in the cold winter months before you venture out to your classes.
3. Sandwiches and wraps are your best friend for lunch.
For lunch, it can be tempting to get some pizza and a soda, but that is not healthy at all. Instead, try to get a wrap or a sandwich of some sort. It is much healthier and you will feel more satisfied because of all of the carbs in the bread as opposed to a greasy slice of pizza. Lunch is another good time to throw in another fruit, such as a banana or apple.
4. Protein is always a good idea for dinner.
Dinner is the time to eat a lot of protein. It is a good idea to have a hearty meal such as some kind of meat, whether that be chicken, pork,or ham, and then have some potatoes, pasta or bread. This is also a great time to load up on your vegetables for the day, whether it is broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or anything else. If you still have room, a salad is always a great idea, as well.
5. Treats are OK occasionally.
I am not trying to tell you that all you have to eat are healthy foods. There are definitely times where you can indulge in a treat. My rule of thumb is one treat a day. I usually have a scoop of ice cream as my treat after I get dinner, but your treat can be had at any point throughout the day. When you eat healthy most of the time, it is perfectly OK to reward yourself occasionally.
6. Don't drink your calories.
Another thing to be cautious of when it comes to eating healthy is watching what you drink. When you drink something, you usually don't think about how many calories you are consuming in said drink. The last thing you want to do is drink calories. That is why water is always a good option since it keeps you hydrated and has zero calories. My personal favorite drink that has no calories and is rich in antioxidants when I want a little something more than water is Sparkling ICE. They come in so many different flavors and have zero calories. Another great option is Gatorade because it replenishes things like sodium and potassium that have been lost through exercise throughout the day.
7. Eat three meals a day.
Often times, it can be hard to eat three meals at times throughout the entirety of the day due to time constraints. Or you may think it is better if you skip a meal from time to time to consume less calories. It is better to eat all three meals to keep up your energy levels and stay healthy because skipping meals on a daily basis begins to add up in the long run and is not good for your overall health because you will not be consuming an adequate amount of nutrients that are needed on a daily basis.
Eating healthy comes with so many benefits. From maintaining a healthy weight to feeling better overall on a daily basis, focusing on eating the right foods is definitely a motivator.
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