7 Smart Eating Tips For College Students

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You are in college and are feeling pretty invincible. You stay up late, get up early, eat what you want, do some drinking and you think nothing about exercise. That’s okay, because you still feel and look great!

Even if you aren’t wiped out, you’re not doing your body any favors. Sure, you can get away with some things now, but by the time you’re 30, the effects of living life large can make you, well, large.

You protest: I don’t have the time to eat right. Well, that is not true. These days, most colleges offer healthy meal plan choices. And, you can always choose to bring back the right kinds of food to your dorm or apartment instead of living on pizza, beer and snacks.

The following list offers seven smart eating tips for today’s college students:

1. Start right — You’ve heard it said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” In many ways this is true. Breakfast supplies the energy you need to get your body going, delivering the nutrients you need to get your brain going for the day. Eat your breakfast, but choose your foods wisely.[1]

2. Smart foods — Recognizing that many people, including college students, eat breakfast on the run, nutritionists offer a number of choices for healthy fast food eating. You can still have your morning coffee, but keep in mind to choose one item each from the grain, protein and fruit categories when eating on the go.[2]

3. Smart snacks — Energy drinks, chocolate bars and too much coffee will give you a temporary boost, but they’re no good when it comes to providing nutritional value. Consider keeping a banana, whole wheat crackers or rice cakes at the ready when you feel the urge to snack.

4. Consider sweeteners — The occasional candy bar is fine, but remember how many other sweets you consume during the day. Substitute artificial sweeteners for your coffee’s sugar and limit your consumption of foods loaded with sugar.

5. Hydrate yourself — Some 50 to 60 percent of your body weight is water therefore you need water to function, let alone survive. You may have heard that you need eight glasses of water daily, but consuming that much water is unrealistic for some. Instead, take note that food contains water too — up to 20 percent of what your body needs daily. You still need to drink water, but perhaps not the full eight glasses (64 ounces) some people urge.[3]

6. Consume calcium — Osteoporosis, or bone mass loss, is a problem for many older adults. That problem often stems from a lack of calcium consumed from young adulthood on, therefore make sure you do not miss consuming green-leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, yogurt, cottage cheese and fortified soy milk are some sources of calcium.

7. Limit alcohol — There is no sense in lecturing you if you are not of legal drinking age and are consuming alcohol. If you do drink, you should be aware of the amount of calories you are consuming.[5]

For example, that 12 ounce can of regular beer is rated at 149 calories while that supposed “lite” beer still averages 110 calories. A shot of gin is 65 calories, a glass of wine is 80 calories and that 1.5 ounce serving of Kahlua is 188 calories. Those calories do not compare to the calories offered found in healthy foods.[6]

Food is to be enjoyed, but it should be consumed wisely and in sufficient proportions at various times throughout your day.

References

[1] New York: How I Learned to [Heart] Breakfast (or at Least What to Eat for It)

[2] North Carolina State University: Making Smart Breakfast Choices

[3] CNN: Eat Your Fluids to Stay Hydrated

[4] Harvard School of Public Health: Calcium and Milk

[5] It would be great to learn how to help an alcoholic if you have friends or loved ones who abuse alcohol on a regular basis.

[6] CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov: Alcohol Calorie Counter

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Categories: Personal Advice