When it comes to managing how you eat at college, it is difficult. A tad easier if you have your own apartment, but eating dining hall food for 4 years is rough. And I know this first hand. I actually gained the freshman 15-20 pounds, but they melted off when I got home and fixed my eating the summer before sophomore year. Getting a handle on how to eat properly seems to be a major problem. Here are a few tips that I didn’t start out doing, but ending up following religiously. Before I start: I am not a calorie counter, but Rutgers (maybe other schools) has a site dedicated to your meals. RU had one that told you how much was a serving, how many calories every item was that they ere serving, etc it was very thorough. Check out your school’s dining website.
- Change your thinking of your ideal meal- Rutgers had 4 dining halls and several eateries, but it never matched my home cooked meals. Go into the school year remembering this. Lower, no adjust, your expectations from the beginning.
- Have Fruit at least twice daily- (hopefully more) For me it was always during breakfast (yes every morning I got up and had breakfast…it was just something I had to do to start my day..breakfast IS the most important meal…just saying) and I had fruit as a snack in between classes. Going into Rutgers, I hated bananas, by the time I graduated I morphed into a little monkey. Bananas are easy to carry, always available and it helped keep the munchies away. I would take several from the dining hall, let them ripen in my room && then I would always some fruit available. Grapes are very great. Vending machines are so accessible && easy, but try to not be tempted. If I needed to get something out the vending machine it would be trail mix or sun chips (hopefully lasting more than one serving, but that rarely happened) sometimes I even grabbed a chocolate bar; snickers, Hershey’s w/ Almonds etc. I recommend fruit out of them all, but I know sometimes the fruit, fruit bars, fruit smoothies just don’t cut it.
- Veggies should always be on your plate during lunch and dinner– Make an effort to get some vegetables on your plate. Think of the rainbow when you think of veggies, green, yellow, orange, red, purple veggies. For salads, romaine lettuce beats out iceberg lettuce by 100%, iceberg has little, if any, nutritional value. Personally yall, I LOVE salad, so about 85% of my lunch and dinner experiences included salads. This is how I made my salads: Lettuce/carrots/tomatoes/broccoli/cucumbers/peppers/onions/spinach/sunflower seeds. For the dressing-ranch or italian. I really liked a full salad not just two veggies. If you have a station where stir fry or pasta is prepared fresh stack up on veggies. It’s an easy way to get them in. Also, throw in a green smoothie here or there.
- Colleges Keep Carbs– bagel, french toast, pasta, rice bread etc. You can easily get enough of your bread/grain carbs in one meal that’s recommended for a day. You have got to be conscientious of this!! Eating carbs && eating carbs and meat together will pack on the pounds- for instance (garlic bread, spaghetti with meatballs )I know you may have just enjoyed a good meal, but really examine what you ate. How to fix it? Don’t have a bagel at breakfast. Don’t have pasta on tuesday & thursdays. Have one carb at a meal instead of 2 or three. Controlling your carb intake in school will make a difference. Carbs will jack your weight up..&& fast. I think is is the most important aspect, this is where most people fall off because carbs are sooo good and soooo abundant.
- Don’t Dwell on Dairy- I. LOVE. DAIRY! I didn’t realize this until my senior year, but ice cream && cheese were my favorites. You may unknowingly be eating lots of dairy- cream cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese sandwiches, etc. Dairy is really not good for your skin especially if you struggle with breakouts & blemishes. Your digestive system could be affected also. So monitor you daily intake.
- Beverages- Drink water and lots of it. My friend had a Brita filter, with that you use fewer water bottles, but water isn’t that expensive especially if you get out to a store like Sam’s Club & buy in bulk. You need at LEAST 64 oz a day. I drank (literally) one oz of soda every couple of days…I wanted a little fizz at dinner. Soda is full of sugar. Don’t get sucked into the “oh it’s diet soda” reasoning. You & your body will be much better without any soda honestly. You may not realize but those fruit drinks in the machine have drinks full of sugar..the apple, grape, fruit punch, lemonade & mixed fruit drinks are full of sugar…might even have more than soda. Just be cautious. I drank apple & grape at breakfast every morning…just a tad. Alcohol.. here we go. Alcohol has loads of calories, so when you drink you’re drinking empty calories. More drinks=more calories. Calories+ calories + calories = another pound of unwanted fat.
Those are 6 tips that jumped out at me. No matter where you go to school you will have to change and closely monitor what you eat. The majority of weight lost is dependent on diet and not exercise so yes please take what you eat seriously. Like I said in the beginning, it is difficult managing with everything that goes on in your college life, but if you want to make a change start small and start off with healthy habits. Make a little schedule and stick to it, ie- Friday I always had fish or seafood if I was in the dining hall and I had salad at least 6-7 days.
If anybody has additional tips please add them && if you have any questions you know I would like some!