Health Center: 11 Tips for Healthy Eating on Campus
11 Tips for Healthy Eating on Campus
- Choose a variety of foods , and include at least 2 fruit and 2 veggie servings each day. Take advantage of the wide variety of these foods in the Commons, or keep fruits and veggies in your room for easy snacking.
- Eat breakfast every day . Starting your day with breakfast will get your metabolism going, provide you with energy to focus in your classes, and will help prevent overeating later in the day. Skipping breakfast often leads to “cumulative hunger”, which can result in overeating throughout the evening.
- Eat every 3-4 hours every day to keep your metabolism high and to prevent getting overly hungry.
- Be aware of liquid calorie intake if you’re concerned about weight. Sodas, sweetened drinks, alcohol, coffee drinks, and even fruit juice can quickly add calories. The main problem with liquid calories is that they usually don’t provide lasting satiety or fullness, so they can end up being “extra”. Milk and protein drinks are an exception, and provide substantial nutrition and satiety for the calories. However, if you are underweight or you’re an athlete, including beverages like fruit juice, milk, and Gatorade can be beneficial.
- Include planned snacks throughout your day . Planning ahead for meals and snacks means generally making healthier choices than grabbing something when you’re starving. Pack or purchase yogurt and fruit or a banana with peanut butter.
- Eat while you’re eating . Ever notice how easy it is to overeat if you eat while watching TV, or driving, or studying? Eating while doing other things disconnects us from our hunger and fullness cues, and can result in overeating. If you need a snack break during study time, stop studying and enjoy what you’re eating. Limiting the amount and types of snack food you keep in your room may be helpful in managing what you choose and how much you eat.
- Choose reasonable portions . Studies consistently show that we eat up to 35% more when given larger portions of food.
- Slow down ! It takes 20-30 minutes to feel full. Fast eaters often end up feeling stuffed because they don’t have time to register the feeling of fullness.
- Keep yourself hydrated and rested . Many people eat more when they’re tired, in a misguided effort to stay more alert.
- Make time for exercise. Staying active helps improve mood, sleep, and concentration, as well as helping with maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise also keeps us more in touch with our bodies, so identifying and responding to hunger and fullness cues may become easier.
- Enjoy your food, and make room for treats. Having a guideline like allowing one treat each day may be helpful with keeping your diet healthy without being too rigid.