Creating a Balanced Diet in College
It can be hard to make sure you are always being smart about what you consume on a daily basis in college. There are so many different things that can get in your way of choosing a healthier option. Whether it’s a birthday party, going out to eat, someone brings a treat to class, even just going to the grocery store and seeing the delicious sugary treats you could be buying yourself to keep in your dorm. You could easily grab the Doritos instead of the organic tortilla chips or the cheese dip instead of the salsa. So how do you do it? How you do know which is the healthiest option and that you’re actually being smart when it comes to choosing what to consume? While all at the same time trying not to restrict yourself and enjoy your college years.
Listed below are just a few ways to help guide your way to making the smart choice on what to consume.
1. Finesse the system
Walk around your dining hall and see what they have to offer. To make sure you’re putting all the right foods on your plate, refresh your memory on what the MyPlate looks like. The MyPlate tells you that you should have greens, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy all on your plate. To make sure you get everything you need to do that most likely you will have to finesse the system. Be smart. If you get protein from one station, but the veggies don’t look good, take your plate to another station. You don’t have to only get food from one station in the dining hall. By doing this you get a nutritious meal while all at the same time having fun choosing what you want to put on your plate.
2. Stock up on healthy food
If you buy healthy food to keep in your dorm you won’t have to make the choice between the potato chips and carrots. That is why when going to the grocery store if you choose the healthier options you won’t be in a dilemma every time you go to choose a snack from your snack drawer.
3. Read the ingredients and nutritional value on the package
If wanting to eat healthily it is important to make sure you are reading the ingredients on the packaged foods you are buying. If you don’t know over half of the ingredients on the list, most likely it’s probably something you may not want to be eating. When you do know most of the ingredients that can reassure you that you know what you are putting into your body. Reading the nutritional value on the packaging will also help you know whether the product is worth consuming. Ask yourself how many grams of added sugar, sodium carbohydrates you’re willing to consume.
4. Choose smartly
It can be hard when choosing what to eat but just make sure you are choosing what you believe to be the right option for you. If you had breaded chicken and potatoes for lunch maybe for dinner choose the grilled chicken with rice and veggies. No one is perfect when it comes to making the decision of what to eat. All you have to do is be smart and create balance.
5. Listen to your body
Ask yourself these two questions throughout the day. Are you hungry? Are you full? If you are hungry get food, don’t just skip a meal because you are busy. When you eat make sure you’re listening to your body for when it is full. If you are full stop. It’s ok if you still have food on your plate. If you’re eating out just take those leftovers to go and save them for a meal the next day. **Tip: stretches the dollar a little**
6. Enjoy your food
Most importantly remember you are in college and are not perfect. As important as it is to be choosing smartly what you consume make sure to indulge every once in a while. Eating is supposed to be fun and delicious! Get those 10 P.M. donuts on a Monday night with your roommates. As long as you aren’t doing this every night of the week you’ll be fine and you will be making the smart decisions on what to consume.