People underestimate how hard it is to maintain a well-balanced diet as a college student. It’s not an easy feat, otherwise the freshman 15 wouldn’t be such a prevalent problem within students. Juggling schoolwork, a job, extracurricular activities, and a social life takes a toll on your diet. As a college student, your schedule is unpredictable and we tend to eat whatever is available, cheap, cheap, and cheap. Before I came to college I thought the whole ramen noodles ideal was just a stereotype. Nope. I have two 12 packs in my dorm right now.
Listen, people who aren’t in school try to tell you how to maintain a healthy lifestyle but they don’t even know; college life is a lot more scressful, yes scressful, than it has been in the last decade. But never fear. I have some tips that I used to not only keep off the freshman 15 but to lose the 15 and plus some.
- Do you know all the healthy alternatives & options your cafeteria offers? If not, you should take a tour of your caf. Before you go to the first thing you spot, walk around and see if they have a salad bar or a sub/wrap line. I’m a sophomore in my second semester and I’m still discovering what all my caf has.
- With that being said, now that you know what your cafeteria has to offer, plan out what you’re going to eat before you step into the caf. You can write it down in a food log or you can just take mental note of it. I just take mental note of it. The reason why I say plan out your meal is because once you know what you want, you’re going to head straight for that and not be distracted by the German chocolate cake they just put out. Plan your meal and stick to it.
- Keep healthy snacks in your dorm. Sometimes you won’t get up in time to get breakfast before heading to class and you don’t want to start the day with an empty stomach because you’ll be sitting in class distracted by your hunger so have an on the go snack such as a bag of cut up fruit or veggies you keep in your mini fridge or a granola bar. Examples of healthy snacks I keep in my dorm would be: granola bars, snap pea crisps, lightly salted pretzels, fruit, veggies, and low-fat yogurt.
- Now, saying that, all-nighters are going to be inevitable in college. Sorry but no, you’re going to be smacked in the face with one at least 1-2 times during your time in school. Well while studying to the crack of dawn, that’s when you’re tempted to hit up the vending machines the library offers. Instead of being tempted by the processed foods or the “fake healthy” snacks that fill the vending machine, you should bring your healthy snacks with you to your late night study session. You’re going to get hungry which is normal but you’ve come prepared. Plus, it’ll help you stay focused on your schoolwork because you’re stomach will be filled with nutrient food.
- When you go out to eat with your friends, remind yourself of what your diet goals are. Don’t get sidetracked because you’re in a social setting. When you’re at a party only indulge in the sweets or refreshments that you’re not going to find anywhere else such as your friend’s homemade German chocolate cake. Feel me? Chocolate chip cookies? You can get those anywhere. Pass on those. When you eat out with your friends always look for the healthiest option that the menu offers such as grilled chicken, salads, etc.
- Set days during the week where you’re allowed to indulge in not so healthy food. Not, mind you, have a cheat day. That’s setting yourself up for pigging out the whole day. Have a day where you’re allowed to have a cheat meal. I set the weekend as my days where I can have a cheat meal because that’s typically when I go out with friends.
- Now, this one might seem weird but trust me when I say this: After you eat your meal in the caf, leave. This is what I mean: when you and your friends stick around in the caf after you all have finished your meals, that’s just temptation to get up and get even more food. After you’ve all finished your meals, leave. Pronto. Trust me.
- Now onto Ramen. Listen, when I heard about the Ramen Noodles stereotype, I thought that it was just that: a stereotype. But no, it’s real. Ramen Noodles is such an accessible meal because it’s cheap and easy to get your hands on. Instead of telling you to not eat it, let’s be realistic. Just modify Ramen. This is how I make Ramen Noodles healthier: I drain most of the juice out which is where all the sodium is. I then add in some grilled chicken and veggies to it. I cook the microwaveable chicken and veggies first, I cook the ramen and then I add the chicken and veggies. You could also just make a big batch of it earlier in the week and throughout the week you can eat the soup throughout the week. See, make a compromise.
- Keep track of what you eat. It’s important. It’ll show you what your diet patterns are like and that helps you to see what you can do to change it. I keep an an app on my phone called “Eatly.” It’s an app where you actually just take a picture of your meal and that’s how you keep track of what you’ve been eating. It also rates how healthy your meal is based on your picture. I prefer that app over any other because it’s much easier to snap a picture than to jot it all down–well at least for me.
Well, that’s all the tips I have for you. I hope you found this helpful. Be strong xoxo.