Keeping yourself healthy at school can seem impossible, especially with all the tempting foods in the dining hall. Some schools have better choices than others, but choosing some healthier alternatives is typically available at any school. Now I’m not saying 100% clean eating can necessarily be achieved in college dining, but getting some veggies, fruits and whole grains in wouldn’t hurt right?
Getting enough protein and carbs into your breakfast is essential, especially for a long day of classes, club meetings, gym sessions etc. Having a healthy start to your day could even help encourage better food choices throughout the day. Not to mention it’ll boost your mood and keep you upright in that horrendously boring lecture. I’d recommend avoiding those super surgery cereals or those little pastries (I know they’re delicious, but filled with sugar and other processed junk). Some alternatives could be a bowl oatmeal or yogurt filled with fruit. Toast is always a staple breakfast choice, but white bread is filled with processed sugar and contains hardly any nutritional value. Try swapping white bread out for whole wheat if they offer it and skip the butter for nut butter (maybe even top it with banana if you’re into that). Eggs are a great protein source so try those out if possible! Hard boiled eggs are one of the healthiest ways to prepare eggs and also quick if you’re on the go.
Midday can always be tricky with classes crammed next to one another and that nap you just have to take, but taking the time to eat lunch is important to keep your energy up, not to mention skipping meals is linked to nasty things like weight gain, getting sick, etc. Lunch and dinner meals may vary a lot from school to school so I’ll try to stick to staple choices. The sandwich line is usually a mile long, but take that time to think about some healthy swaps you can make. Try getting some turkey over ham or roast beef (less salt & fat) and don’t forget to add some veggies like tomato, lettuce, peppers, etc. Grabbing a salad is always a satisfying meal and doesn’t have to be a boring meal if you prepare it right! Grab some spinach, your favorite veggies and maybe some grilled chicken. Top it off with some hummus and quinoa or brown rice. Trust me you’ll be full by the end of it. Grab another piece of fruit if you’re feeling like you need something sweet.
After a long day, dinner is always the perfect time to refuel and unwind. If you’re craving that hamburger and fries, try finding a turkey burger or grilled chicken. Instead of the fries try some carrot sticks with olive oil drizzled on top (I know it’s not the same, but just try it) or some steamed broccoli. Instead of potatoes, try sweet potatoes a complex carb over the starchy potato. Try brown rice over white rice for a carb option. If you’re thinking tacos, try skipping the tortilla and going for a burrito salad instead! Grab some chicken, beans, corn, and guac for some healthy fats.
These are just some options and shouldn’t make you feel like you’re being deprived of eating those treats you like. Eating healthy isn’t about feeling like you’re missing out. It should make you feel open to new things and discovering foods that instead of making you feel crappy, improve your health and are yummy at the same time. What you eat is so intertwined with how you feel. With all of those crazy emotions happening that comes with college, what we eat is something we can control and hopefully help tame those anxious, angry, stressful, moods. So try some new veggies, throw in an apple or banana after a meal, have an open mind!