I am a 19-year old college sophomore at the College of Southern Maryland. My eating habits now that I am in college have become poor. In fact many studies show that the average college student misses at least one meal a day. College students do not take the time or put forth the effort to eat right. While not all college students have been educated on proper nutrition those that have usually choose to ignore it. Almost every college has a diet or nutrition course offered through its physical education department. However it is impossible to stop collegians from snacking and eating their fast food. Steps in better eating are easy to follow and can make college living much healthier.
The first step for a college student to do is determine what a good diet is exactly. Eating regular, well-balanced meals is a good start. Along with the food a student must get a proper amount of water, vitamins, and minerals. Young adults require 8 full glasses of water a day. While most consider water bland and not tempting to drink, tea powder and juice concentrate can be added to it to make it more enjoyable. A major problem in college students is their love for soda and artificial juice or sports drinks. Drinking a coke is very unhealthy yet a typical college student drinks at least a 20 ounce bottle everyday. This is probably due to cokes cheapness, availability, or great taste. Think about this though, how much harder is it to drink a 20 oz bottle of water? The sugar, sodium, and caffeine in a coke product can lead to dehydration and a bad diet. However along with eating and drinking right, following a diet guideline is also important to stay healthy.
Nutritional guides are labeled on every food and drink product available as part of a law. Using them in your eating is important, as they provide vital information such as serving sizes and a recommended daily allowance percentage. These percentages on things like fat, sodium, and carbohydrates, are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. This is a good amount of calories for the typical beginner college student in eating healthy. More active students require more calories while less active students do not need as many. Following the food guidelines that are available will be hard at first but steadily become easier. If you look ahead at the facts of the foods you will be eating, staying healthy will be a snap.
Planning what you eat is an important step in healthy dieting. It is essential to keep eating habits from getting out of control. Many people especially college students claim they do not have the time to set up an eating log, or menu. In reality though it takes just a few short moments to plan a day’s menu, or even a weeks worth. If a journal of daily food consumption is kept you could plan out what to eat for a month in just an hour. Also by having these menus planned, grocery shopping time will be cut down cause you will know what to buy and not impulse buy. This will also eliminate random fast food meals. This will allow you to know everything you will eat and keep it all healthy.
No matter how hard you try though snacking is impossible to stop while in college. Late night “study breaks” and partying leads to random snacking. The biggest misconception in snacking is that a “fat-free cookie” is a healthy choice. In fact many “healthy” foods have had sugar added or other substitutes. However by having the nutritional facts and menus on hand you will be able to control what to snack on. Good snacks to keep on hand are things like fruit, granola, baked chips, and fat-free popcorn. In the mini fridge, water or tea is recommended over sodas and sports drinks. However if taste is what you crave make it a diet soda instead. Another way to curb impulse snacking is simply ask yourself, “is this nutritious?” or “am I really that hungry?”. At all costs avoid fast food as a snack.
Fast food chains target younger people with the food being low priced, convenient, and having an easy to use system. Also near many college campuses are specials like a $7 large pizza, or buy one get one free, as well as deliveries on almost anything. With these specials many college students throw good eating habits out the window. It is important to remember though that most “value meals” contain a half a days worth of calories, and fat. Avoiding these fast food stores is a struggle for most of us, but if it is what you simply must have compare nutritional facts and make a wise decision. Also whenever possible eat at the local Subway. These are simple facts to eating out.
While I fit into the 80% who do not eat healthy in college, I have shown you what having a healthy diet consists of. To begin your diets overcome such factors as overeating, snacking, and making poor decisions. Lack of time, convenience and price are all leading factors to bad eating habits. Using nutritional guides and planning meals will help overcome obstacles. With my tips even the inevitable snacking and fast food stops can become healthier. These are just a few steps that can lead to better college eating.