Health Segment – Diet
Being a student, you’re experiencing a lot of stressors and exciting things. Many aspects of life will be new, especially if you’re moving away from home and sharing your living space with other students. At SLL, we believe that the most important aspect of your college years should, at all times, remain your health and safety!
This week, we’d like to focus on maintaining a healthy diet. You can treat an ailment/illness, but the best way to prevent it from developing is to watch your diet. There is no need to go on a fad diet, or cut out junk food, entirely—moderation and clever planning is the key.
Identify if you have an eating disorder.
Before anything, you must be mentally ready to make the commitment to eat healthy. It will be difficult to stick to a healthy eating pattern if you suffer from an eating disorder. If you know or suspect you have an eating disorder, consider reaching out to online help or on-campus help.
If you pay for your own meals, make a decent budget for food.
One of the main reasons people turn to junk food is because it is as inexpensive as it is tasty. Creating a budget for your food can help you afford a better quality meal more often.
Plan your meals before each shopping trip.
Whether your family, school, or yourself are providing your meals, you should always make a plan for what you will eat. If your family cooks and provides your food, you may be in a better position since home-cooked meals are usually healthier, if not, ask your family to consider healthier options, and also plan for healthy snacks. If you have meal plans for school, consider asking for or referencing the meal calendar and deciding what is healthiest, beforehand.
If you are providing food for yourself, remember that cooking your own food and using leftovers the next day is the best way to maintain health, as well as stretch the budget. There is also a plethora of resources for cooking and planning by the week for optimal use of leftovers.
Eat breakfast every day.
It is proven that something is always better than nothing when it comes to breakfast. One egg, a piece of toast, and orange juice is a great, small breakfast for anyone who isn’t used to eating in the morning. It helps keep away grogginess, maintain focus, and curbs the urge to eat an unhealthy snack before lunch. If you remember, as a kid, skipping breakfast but running towards the vending machine to buy a honey-bun, soda, and chips before entering your class, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Don’t skip meals.
If you know you’ll be home late or won’t be able to make it to a meal, prepare a packed meal, instead. If you have no choice but to eat out/at a fast food restaurant, try to eat the grilled chicken meals with little dressing and skimp on the fries and soda.
Portion your meals.
Do not overeat, remember that it takes a bit of time for your body to register that it is full. Always consider that most food can be stored for some time after it’s been made and that you can always have it as a “snack” or leftover for the next day. Soups tend to also taste more flavorful after the flavors marinate for a bit longer.
Also portion the sections of your meal correctly. It doesn’t help much if you eat 90% protein and only 10% of everything else (veggies and grains), that kind of diet would fall under the fad diets.
Keep Healthy snacks near you.
Make it easy for yourself to eat healthy! Keep some fruits you know you’ll eat (don’t waste money by getting fruits you don’t like rot), some mixed unsalted or roasted nuts, portions of dark chocolate, or veggie chips around. If you’re wondering about dessert, mashed sweet potato is a nice treat after any meal.
Vary the food you eat.
When given the chance, try something new! If you eat the same foods all the time, you’re likely to indulge on the unhealthy stuff a lot more often, rendering your efforts a lot less effective.
Drink water every day.
If not exclusively, you should always incorporate drinking water every day. It is the basic need of all living creatures and is essential to your body. Even if you believe the water ratio in sodas and juices are enough, they contain sugars and additives that diminish the effects of pure water.
Don’t eat from stress or boredom.
If you find yourself eating when you’re not too hungry, or when you’re under stress, you’re vulnerable to ruining your appetite for your scheduled meals. If you feel you must eat something, reach for a small portion of a healthy snack, or drink some water/hot tea. If you’re anxious, it’s also a great idea to take a walk or a small jog.
It’s perfectly fine to indulge, but…
It’s always best to limit the unhealthy stuff. Consider allowing yourself junk food, alcohol, and unhealthy snacks just once a week, at most. It can be used as a reward, but remember that there are alternatives that can be just as satisfying.
Consider taking vitamins.
Don’t hesitate to boost your nutrition intake with vitamins. If you aren’t sure what you need, visit a doctor or pharmaceutical expert.