The average college student is often pressed for time, under a lot of stress and eating on the go. You may find it difficult to avoid bad habits like skipping meals or frequenting fast food restaurants. But eating a healthy diet can help you feel better, cope with stress and perform better in the class-room and on the athletic field. It really isn't that hard to get started.
1. Eat a good breakfast. Studies show that skipping breakfast detracts from scholastic achievement. When there isn't time to sit down and enjoy your morning meal, grab a bagel, piece of fruit, and some juice. Most of these items can be easily stored in your dorm room.
2. If you must eat fast foods, choose wisely. Choose pizza with half the cheese, a regular size roast beef sandwich, baked potato, or green salad with reduced calorie dressing. Limit high fat offering like french fries, fried chicken or fish sandwiches and watch out for salad dressing.
3. Keep healthful snacks on hand so if hunger strikes during a late night study session, you won't be tempted by vending machine candy, chips, or ice cream. Possibilities include fresh or dried fruit, pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, rice cakes or whole wheat cracker. If you have a refrigerator, consider raw vegetables with low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese dip.
4. Eat plenty of foods that are rich in calcium. People in their early twenties need to be build up stores of calcium in their bodies to prevent osteoporosis in later life. If you don't like milk, try to include ample amounts of low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and green leafy vegetables in your diet.
5. If you need to lose weight, do it sensibly. Starvation and/or diets that offer a quick fix usually backfire and are harmful. There is not truth to the theories that suggest eating foods in any particular combination will promote weight loss. The only safe way to lose weight, feel good while doing it, and keep it off is to eat a balanced diet.
6. Sugar provides calories in your diet but few other nutrients and it contributes significantly to tooth decay. Use it sparingly and consider sweetening coffee, tea, cereal and fruit with diet sweeteners instead.
7. The dining hall salad bar can be either an asset or a detriment to you diet depending on how you choose from it. Of course, leafy greens, raw vegetable and fresh fruit are beneficial. But if you choose lot of creamy dressing, bacon bit, and mayonnaise based salads, the calories and fat may equal or even exceed those of a burger and fries.
8. If you drink alcohol, keep in mind that it supplies calories but no nutritional value. A light beer, a glass of wine, or an ounce of liquor each has about 100 calories. There are also many health problems associated with drinking alcohol.
9. Drink lots of water. Your body needs at least eight glasses a day, and if you exercise vigorously, you may need more. To remind yourself, carry a water bottle along to class and keep it handy during late night study sessions.
10. Remember, food is a lot more than nourishment for our bodies. Enjoy and savor it.