I don’t know if you all can tell, but I’ve been listening to a lot of DJ Khaled this summer
(not really tbh).
I also don’t know if you know, but there is a LOT of processed, greasy, junk food that is included in our meal plans. Our expensive ahh- meal plans. Side note, my meal plan costs more than my room and board.
For all this money, you’d think we’d be eating a superior, all-natural, no pesticides, chia-seed-kind-of-expensive, super-food type of diet. But that’s just not how the cookie crumbles in American colleges.
So I’ve compiled 6 major keys to eating healthy in college and avoiding that freshman 15! Hey, I actually lost weight in college my first year. So if I can withhold temptation, you can too. And here’s exactly how.
7 Major Keys to Eating Healthier in College
Visit all the cafeterias
First thing’s first: find out which buildings serve food. If there’s a poster for all the office hours, take a picture of it on your phone so you’ll never forget.
If you have the extra time, you can look up menus at your school, but normally they’ll serve similar foods that really aren’t worth the hassle of logging on and downloading some type of schedule.
Don’t know, don’t eat
Sometimes my caf labels their food to tell us what in the world we are eating.
But often times, they don’t. And sometimes they label foods with meat in them as vegetarian. And then you are disappointed.
Rule of thumb: if you don’t know what’s in it, don’t eat it. If your cafeteria has some noodles with some secret sauce in it but smells so good, try not to eat it every day. Sauces especially can pile on loads of nutrient-lacking calories. Sure they taste good, but they’re not helping you fight off obesity.
And if you do have access to labels, READ THEM! The fewer the ingredients, the more natural, the less guesswork you have to do to find out if something is healthy.
A few ingredients to look out for: high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, sugar, and partially hydrogenated anything.
[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-normal-blue”]A few ingredients to look out for: high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, and partially hydrogenated anything. [/Tweet]
Avoid fried foods
At my school, they have Fried Chicken Wednesdays, which makes no sense because why not have it on a Friday?
Anyways, do you know where I am when they’re serving fried chicken?
At the salad bar.
Fried foods are greasy, nutrient-lacking, and pretty addictive. Can you ever just have one fry? Heck no! But how many times have you craved three apples in one sitting? Apples are packed with enough nutrients to satiate your cravings, whereas fried foods are like a paradox since they fill you up with nothing.
Well, they do fill you up with something. Some things like diabetes and cancer.
Fried foods are best in moderation. But after a while, once you start eating healthy and you shove a burger in your mouth, your taste buds will be crying, why have you betrayed me?
Fill your plate up with vegetables first
Right when you walk up to the grub, make a beeline for the salad line. Depending on where you go to school, this may be the shortest line, so take advantage of that.
Dress up the salad the way you want it. If you don’t like tomatoes, don’t put tomatoes. Make a salad that’ll make your mouth water.
But don’t pile your salad up with fat
I know I basically just said have it your way when it comes to salads, but that doesn’t mean you have to make a whopper salad (see what I did thar?). You don’t need so much bacon and you definitely don’t need a jug of chipotle sauce or –eek—ranch.
And no, not even lite ranch.
My favorite dressing is balsamic vinegarette. It adds a tiny spicy yet sweet kick of flavor to my salads, and it’s low in calories.
You can also top it with cottage cheese. It’ll add more moisture to your salad, and according to the USDA, one cup of it is 25 grams of protein!
Get a (big) reusable water bottle
My school was giving away Nalgene (super expensive) water bottles on a trip, and I’ve stuck with mine forever.
If you want to eat healthier and ultimately be healthier, you’ve got to drink water. No ifs, ands, or butts about it. And you’ve got to drink a LOT of it.
Water not only helps you replenish minerals you lose throughout your days of hiking up to your classes, but it also fills you up. If you’re looking to lose weight, water is the way to go because it’s the only drink out there that’s 0 calorie and doesn’t come with some nonsense sweetener that increases your chance of Type 2 diabetes (I’m looking at you, Splenda).
You can calculate how much water you’re supposed to drink by using a calculator. Or if you’re new here, you can check out this post my friend wrote on everything you need to know about water.
And while we’re still on this topic, drink water and only water—or tea! Okay, every now and then you can treat yourself to some lemonade or flavored drink.
But if you want flavor and health, it’s definitely not impossible. If you want flavored water, add chunks of fruit in it from the salad bar. De nada.
You may be tempted to inhale every last bit of that yummy, tantalizing salad, but don’t! You must slow down! And if you don’t think you’re not that disciplined enough (cuz I know I’m not!), make a friend. You’ll have someone to talk to, and it’ll indirectly make you conscious of how fast you’re eating. Unless you’re just a slob that talks with your mouth full.
And if you’re too busy for waiting on friends, bring out a cell phone or a book. Just do something while you eat to help you slow down. Like watch my youtube videos!
Chewing slower may not sound like your typical tip for eating healthier, but it works wonders. gives your body time to process. When you chew slower, you aren’t shoving foods down your esophagus, and your body has time to turn it into energy. It also makes it easier for your belly to say, okay stop, I’m about to explode.
To conclude, eating healthier in college isn’t rocket science. And you don’t have to diet to do so. Just go for the nutrients, and your body will thank you! Every now and then, you can indulge, but what’s important is that you get back on track.
And if you like being on track with your weight and want to do the same for your grades, here’s a list of 35+ PRODUCTIVE things to do your first week of college.
What is your favorite major key? Do you have a tip that you don’t see on here? Help us all out and COMMENT BELOW!