By Jesenia Sanchez
When it comes to eating healthy, college students face quite a few challenges. Having been one for the past five years, I would say that I know. We are often pressed for time, under plenty of stress, and would prefer to eat on the go if possible.
Whether at the mercy of the school meal plan or not, the average student is pretty short on funds. Regrettably, this makes it much too easy to skip meals, and visit cheap fast food restaurants. It is difficult enough to find quick and affordable food, never mind healthy food.
Luckily, these bad habits can be broken. Living a healthy lifestyle in the midst of the all-nighters, and busy schedules is possible. Simply making a few dietary changes from day to day, will significantly improve your overall well being. Stress, anxiety, and lack of energy are but a few examples that will slowly begin to diminish as these modifications are made.
Don’t know where to begin? Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Eat a good breakfast-Time and time again, we were told by our parents not to skip breakfast—turns out, they were right! Studies taken by medical doctors in 2014 have shown that the work of students who do not have breakfast in the morning lack efficiency. If short on time, grab a couple pieces of fruit, and/or a trail mix of sorts. These items are easy to come by and—believe it or not—will sustain you until lunch.
- Eat foods rich in fiber-According to Dr. Judith Rodriguez, fiber is of vital importance—it is what keeps you full. Consuming foods that are rich in fiber will help you not snack between meals, and classes. Some foods that fall under this category are oatmeal, bananas, peaches, beans, broccoli and green leafy vegetables.
- Drink plenty of water-As Dr. Kathleen Zelman states in her article “6 Reasons to Drink More Water,” the human body needs at least eight glasses of water a day. Doing so will not only relieve you of fatigue, but increase the amount of energy you have throughout the day as well. Don’t bother spending your limited funds on bottled water, buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up as needed.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand-Hunger may strike in the midst of your late night study session, so be sure to keep a few healthy snacks in your bag, and in the dorm. Better to be prepared than tempted by that vending machine down the hall. Try dried fruit, pretzels, or yogurt—the less sugar, the better.
- Exercise-Accompanying healthful eating with a bit of exercise is extremely beneficial. Exercise helps blood flow, which improves the function of your mind. You look good, and feel good. It does not have to be a vigorous work out, start off with a 15 minute routine, and work your way up. Every little bit makes a difference.
Being healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. Some of the most nutritious foods are among the least expensive. Stay away from those vicious processed foods with sugar and fat, and embrace the produce section!
Remember, your diet doesn’t have to be perfect. Mine certainly isn’t! Instead, take it day by day; try to do things a little better than you did yesterday. Every step you take towards a healthier lifestyle is a step worth taking.