Here are some things to keep in mind while you are deciding what to eat.
What should you be eating?
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health the pyramid of our diet can be broken into six major blocks. The first block is made of whole grains which provide our bodies with vital energy we need. The second block is comprised of healthy fats and oils which can come from avocados and fish. The third block should be all fruits and vegetables. The fourth block is made of nuts, seeds, beans, and tofu which can provide vitamins and protein. The fifth block is comprised of fish, poultry, and eggs in order to provide lots of protein with low saturated fats. Finally, the sixth block is dairy or vitamin D / calcium supplements. Balance is really important.
If you eat the same salad for lunch and same chicken for dinner every night you’re going to get tired of eating healthy real quick. It’s important to try new foods and new combinations. Mix and match your proteins, grains, and vegetables
Eating Healthy doesn’t mean eating less
There is a huge misconception that when you start eating healthy you have to eat less. This could not be farther from the truth. When you begin substituting asparagus for french-fries you are replacing this high calorie high fat food with a low calorie food that is actually good for you. This means that you can eat as much asparagus as you want! It makes no sense to cut back on foods that are good for you. However, always keep in mind balance.
At college there is always going to be free food somewhere. So it’s important for you to listen to your body. Recognize when you are hungry and when you are full. It’s easy to lose track of how much snacking you are doing when you’re multitasking. Always pay attention to what you are eating and take your time. You want to be happy when you eat so try to avoid negative or guilty thoughts.
Don’t drink your calories
Don’t let unlimited access to sodas and other sugary drink in college cafs trap you. Try to limit yourself to at most one sugary drink a day. Limiting your sugary drink intake can reduce the spikes in your blood sugar. These spikes could be the first step towards some chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. You can never go wrong with good ole H2O.
Thanks, Kathleen, for some spot on advice for college students facing all the temptations that college eating has to offer. An added note, too, many young people (especially women) know to watch their calories, and often will forgo food to have calories left over for drinking. Make no mistake about it - drinking on an empty stomach will get you drunk faster (no, not a good thing) and increases your risk for alcohol poisoning. More on that HERE.