Healthy Eating Awareness for College Students
As with all of us, we learn best from our role models and college students are no different.
Healthy eating habits should be taught at home before the student leaves and that way they are more likely to carry on these habits (we hope!)
However 3 weeks into college they will have made new friends and be in a totally different environment.
They will be trying to juggle assignments as well as working a part-time job and will most likely be finding everything a little tough (even adults would find this tough to begin with.)
It is not uncommon for college students to turn to high fat and high processed foods when living in the dormitory or a nearby apartment as it is tough to find foods that are cost effective, quick and easy and good for you.
It is also likely that college students have no idea how to even cook a healthy meal, let alone have to worry about if they have the right equipment to whip something up.
If you are in a dormitory you don’t have a choice but to eat the food choices that are given to you.
If you are finding yourself in this situation, or you know that your son or daughter is in this situation it is important to remember these few rules.
– You need food to fuel your body as well as your brain.
If you do not feed your brain the food it needs you are going to struggle with your college work and you won’t be able to find the answers that you need.
Ensure you eat proper foods, these are easy to find and can also be cost effective.
– You need to exercise regularly in order to remain in shape and to give you energy.
If you ensure you make time for a good workout a few times a week this is going to do wonders for your concentration levels, energy, productivity, stress relief as well as not piling on the pounds!
– Listening to your body is so important and what a lot of us don’t actually do! If your stomach is rumbling you are hungry and you should eat.
If you feel full up you should stop eating, not force more down! Drink a minimum of 8 8 ounce cups of water every day and avoid caffeine if you can as this will just dehydrate you.
– If there is nothing in your canteen that you can eat or that you fancy, be more creative, combine different foods rather than just having what they are serving up.
If they are serving chicken and chips, swap the chips for a salad for a healthy alternative.
– If you don’t eat regularly you are going to find it hard to concentrate in class.
Your brain needs food for energy and it is likely that you will end up with a headache if you skip a meal, as well as coming away from your class not remembering anything, it really isn’t worth it! Even if you have a quick piece of fruit in between classes this is better than nothing.
– Avoid whole milk, sweetened drinks, fried foods and refined grains and instead eat baked or grilled foods, low fat milk, whole grains and fruits and vegetables.
Fried food might taste amazing for that 10 minutes while you are eating it, but it is not going to feed your brain what it needs to help you pass those exams.
– Vending machines will be all over the place for you to grab a quick unhealthy snack when you get the munchies, but avoid these at all costs!
Keep healthy snacks in your room and in you college back for those times. Some suggestions are granola bars, nuts, popcorn, yoghurt, string cheese, vegetable sticks with hummus.
Although some students will find it hard to stick to a healthy diet 24/7, it is good to start them off on the right track at home before they go off.
By doing this they have more chance of maintaining the healthy eating habits that you have drummed into them.
oreganStateUniversity: Video: Students teach students how to cool healthy easy meals
Geneseo – State University of New York: College Students and Healthy Eating
University of North Dakota: Students Cook Healthy meals
Utah State University: Nutrition Education to Minimize Health Risk
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public health: Teaching the Food System
FloridaStateImpact: How schools are encouraging students to eat healthier