For incoming freshmen, starting college is an exciting time. You're about to become more independent and responsible for important areas of your life—things like career choices, physical health and mental growth. College also brings challenges: learning how to balance priorities and make good choices in your academic, athletic and social life.
With busy schedules and added stress, eating healthy in college can be difficult. But it's not impossible, especially if you follow these tips.
Don't Skip Meals
In particular, breakfast is easy to skip when you're rushing to attend your first class of the day. Set your alarm in time to make it to the dining hall. Or keep easy items in your dorm room, like protein bars, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt and whole grain cereal.
Mind Your Beverages
Many college campuses have soda and juice fountains with free refills. It's easy to take in too much sugar from these beverages and not properly hydrate. Keep a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day, and be mindful of sugary beverages.
Choose Wisely at the Salad Bar
When trying to eat healthy in college, many students turn to the salad bar. Salads are a great option, but be careful when selecting toppings. Choose vegetables, lean proteins and oil-based dressings. Try to avoid prepared salads with mayo, cheese and creamy dressings.
Stock Your Dorm Room With Snacks
It's a great idea to keep snacks for between meals and before practice. Invest in a small refrigerator and keep fruit, yogurt, nuts, bread, turkey and peanut butter for healthy snack choices.
Plan Your Days
Review your school and practice schedules to see where you'll fit in meals, social activities and time for yourself. If you don't have time to go to the dining hall, pack a sandwich and snacks to eat between classes.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, dehydrates you and affects your health. Be responsible and mindful of your drinking decisions. Since it can leave you feeling fatigued, drinking often impacts healthy choices the following day.
Ask for Help
Always remember, resources are available if you require nutritional advice. Most campus health centers have a Registered Dietitian, and dining halls often post nutritional information. If you want to eat healthy, it helps to keep a written record so you can understand what might be causing fluctuations in your weight.
College is a busy time. By making your health a priority, you can enjoy the freedom it brings and become more successful in all of your endeavors.
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