College students often struggle to achieve healthy eating habits. And without healthy eating habits it can be hard to find peace, especially during the crucial college years. During the freshman year, students who are away from home for the first time often react by eating out-of-control. The Freshman 15 (the dreaded 15 pounds that many freshmen put on during their first year of college) is not a myth. There are many factors that combine to lead to a weight gain when students first come to college. They have no parents around to feed them healthy meals. They do not exercise as much as they did in the high school. Their schedules are hectic. They eat out a lot more. Pizza is a way of life for them. To counteract this, here are five healthy eating tips college students can follow to keep the weight off.
1. Make Smart Choices in the Dining Hall
One of the prime culprits plumping up college students are the infamous university dining halls. Most colleges require students living in the dorms to be forced to get meal plans. If you are required to get a meal plan, make sure that you stick to healthy options in the dining hall. Try to eat lean proteins like chicken and eggs. Enjoy the all-you-can-eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Skip the soft serve ice cream, egg rolls and French fries. If you make smart choices, there is no reason that you can’t eat healthy in your dorm’s dining hall.
2. Cook Your Own Meals
Just because you can eat healthy in the dining hall doesn’t mean it is ideal. The best way to ensure that you are providing yourself with proper nutrition is to cook your own meals as much as possible. Not only is cooking your own food better for you, but it is more economical as well to the delight of cash-strapped college students.
3. Keep Protein Bars in Your Backpack
One of the most common reasons that college students slip up in their eating habits is because they get hungry at odd times. When you miss a meal because your schedule is crazy, it is easy to get some pizza, candy or other junk food around campus. You need to avoid this at all costs. The easiest way to make sure that you avoid eating junk food when you are hungry is to keep some protein bars in your backpack. Make sure to stick to healthy options for your protein bars.
4. Embrace Your Inner Salad Lover
Salad is obviously one of the best nutrition meals, but make sure that your salads are healthy. Remember to keep the toppings like croutons and meat moderate to keep the calorie count down. You want to stick to healthy choices like olive oil and vinegar for your dressing. Stay away from the ranch and blue cheese. Beans and eggs are good protein choices for your salads. Remember that you should keep things in moderation even when it comes to salads. It is easy to put together a salad that has over 1,000 calories if you are not careful.
5. Skip the Sugary Cereal
College students love breakfast cereal because it is cheap and convenient. However, you can ruin your diet before breakfast is over if you like sugary cereals. When you are selecting breakfast cereal at the grocery store, pick out varieties that have less than 10 grams of sugar per serving to keep your breakfast in the healthy range. You also many want to consider switching to overnight oats for a healthier choice that is just as easy to make as cereal.
Just because you are a freshman in college, it doesn’t mean you need to put on 15 pounds. In fact, you can look at your college years as the perfect opportunity to develop healthy eating habits that will make you a healthy adult. When you eat right, you will do better in your classes and be full of energy for all the fun activities you are fortunate enough to enjoy while you are in college.