So you’re in college? You’re probably lined up with school, work, volunteering, friends, organizations and a billion other demanding obligations. Yeah, living a healthy lifestyle probably isn’t going to happen for you…. JUST KIDDING, being healthy in college is definitely possible and I’m here to help with some super easy tips!
1.You are what you eat!
- Eating out:
- This is probably unavoidable in college, sometimes it’s easier to just pick up something quick to eat! Try to cut down the number of times that you eat out, if you eat out 5-6 times a week try to make it 4-5 times a week and work towards decreasing that number each week.
- When you do eat out, try to pick healthier choices by taking a quick look at the nutrition facts online, choosing whole wheat over white wheat, holding the mayo, choosing grilled/baked over fried, etc.
- Portion control:
- How should your dinner plate look? Fill half of the plate with fruits and vegetables, one-fourth of the plate with grains, one-fourth of the plate with protein, and a small amount of the plate can be filled with low-fat dairy. Remember, everything should be eaten in moderation even if it’s a healthy choice! For more tips on portion control!
- Meal examples:
- Here are a few of my favorite simple meals that take less than 5 minutes to prepare!
- Scrambled eggs (you do not need to use more than a tbsp. of oil when scrambling!), whole wheat toast & a piece of fruit
- Plain oatmeal mixed with shaved almonds and fruits (banana, blueberry, strawberry etc.). You can add a tbsp. of brown sugar or honey for extra sweetness.
- Cereal with reduced fat milk (you can add fruits for extra sweetness, bananas and berries are great!). **Here are a few example of some good cereal choices that are low in sugar. Notice that fruit loops and Reese’s puffs are not on there.. try to steer away from those kinds of sugary cereals!
- Whole wheat bread, turkey ham or regular ham (low sodium), cheese (1 slice) & mustard or pesto. *For bonus health points add a vegetable like a sliced tomato, bell pepper or spinach.
- Classic peanut butter & Jelly sandwich- upgrade it by using whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter (yay for no hydrogenated oils!) and jelly naturally sweetened from fruit juice.
- Baked chicken/ turkey/ fish/ tofu, brown rice & vegetables. Save time by baking a week worth of chicken at one time, making a large batch of brown rice for the week and buying frozen vegetables.
- Healthy snacks-
- Unsalted almonds/pecans/walnuts etc. Pack the appropriate serving size in a zip-lock bag for a snack that keeps you full thanks to the protein & healthy fats in nuts.
- Greek yogurt with healthy topping of choice (shaved almonds, berries, unsweetened coconut shavings)
- You can even get your fruits & veggies serving in with your snacks. A few of my favorites are baby carrots, celery sticks, apples, grapes, clementine and nectarine. Try pairing these with peanut butter or a snack of unsalted nuts. The protein and healthy fats in nuts & the fiber in fruits/veggies make an awesome pair to help keep you fuller longer!
- Savory snack alternatives- Love chips? Here are some equally yummy alternatives you can easily make. Here is my favorite store bought chips alternative.
- Sweet snack alternatives- Put away the gummy bears and try dried or dehydrated fruits (mango, raisins, apricot, plum etc.)! Fruit strips and dried mango are my personal favorites!
2. Nap time!
- Good grades, friends & sleep… in college you can only choose two! Just kidding, you need to choose all three! In college it is easy to skimp out on sleep but you need to prioritize sleep! Sleep will help you function better and learn more efficiently! Also you will learn better when you’re not constantly fighting sleep in class!
- Instead of staying up to study and sleeping in, sleep earlier, & wake up earlier to study! I know it seems impossible but give it a try and you might like it!
- Try going to sleep earlier 30 more minutes every night until you feel like you’re getting adequate sleep
3. Don’t stay thirsty my friends!
- Is water even that important? Yes! Even an acute case of dehydration can cause you to lose energy and become more tired!
- Aim for at least two liters of water a day!
- Buy a nice water bottle and take it everywhere! Refill it throughout school or during study breaks. Know how many refill it takes to hit 2 liters & make it a goal to refill your bottle that many times in a day.
- Need more flavor? Infuse your water with cut up fruits (oranges, berries, apples etc.) cucumber, mint leaves and lemon for extra flavor and a boost of vitamins & minerals.
- Coconut water is also great for hydration (no sugar added please!).
4. Chill out!
- Stress is bound to happen in college but here are some ways to help with stress!
- Prevent stress:
- We all know procrastination leads to stress! Prevent procrastination & prevent extra stress! Block out a time to study and try to get rid of distractions, put your phone away and on silent and try using a website blocker if you’re using a computer.
- Get a planner to write down due dates, block out study times and maybe even block out times for other things you want to get done like working out! A planner can help you manage your time and balance your schedule to help prevent stress.
- Listen to your favorite music!
- Take a short (5-10min) break each hour when you’re studying. You can’t just study forever! Stretch, walk around, snapchat somebody, read a blog that you like ;), DO NOT go on facebook/Instagram etc. if you know you will end up wasting hours procrastinating!
- Hang out with friends
- Phone a friend or family member
- You time- do what you like whether it’s painting, taking a nice relaxing bath, working out, going to the park, looking up cute baby animal pictures, reading buzzfeed… whatever you like!
5. Gym time!
- Working out has many great benefits especially during college! A few include reducing stress, improving sleep and improving mental acuity, memory and concentration.
- Workout goal/ tips:
- Make it a goal of getting at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
- Start with working out 2-3 times a week and each week add in another day.
- Block a time to work out and schedule things around this time.
- See if your school has free workout classes and try them out!
- Try workout videos or online videos: some of my favorites are P90X, Insanity, and Pop Pilates.
- Increase your activity level by simply skipping any campus bus systes and walking to class or making a pact to avoid elevators and walk up every flight of stairs you encounter.
- Reward system for exercising- each time you workout, put a dollar in a jar. After 1 month, treat yourself to a purchase with the collected money!
- Find a gym buddy.
- Read fitness blogs and motivational quotes.
Hope these tips help you survive college the healthy way!
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any products, brands or companies. The products linked in this blog are simply products that I like and recommend.