Two words that you generally do not hear in the same sentence: healthy and college. Between the late night eating, partying, busy schedules, and dining hall fast food, let’s be honest, the words are practically complete opposites!
About a month ago my sister called to tell me how hard it has been to stay healthy during her freshman year of college at the University of Miami. She had totally “fallen off the wagon” as far as health and fitness goes, and needed a jump-start to get back into it! I gave her some tips on how to create healthy and sustainable eating and workout habits and I thought I would share them with you too!
Whether you are a freshman living in the dorms, or a senior living off campus, there are some tips I’d like to share with you that have kept me healthy and happy throughout by 4 undergrad college years!
Tips for Eating Healthy
– Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Eat a nutritious breakfast within 1-2 hours of waking up. This will set you up for a day of making healthy choices with a less likely chance to binge eat later on!
– Stick to eating 5 times a day. 3 meals and a snack in between each meal OR 3 meals with a snack after lunch and after dinner.
– Stay hydrated! Drink 8 glasses of water a day (If you can, invest in a plastic water bottle to keep refilling on campus!)
– Stick to a schedule. Eat every 2-3 hours and try to have dinner at a normal time rather than at 10 pm (between 6-8pm)
– Pack snacks with you to eat on campus in between meals so you don’t get hungry! That’s when you’re more likely to overeat at your next meal.
– Don’t be afraid to adjust your order when eating on campus! Ask for no added sugar and only half the milk in smoothies. Ask for more vegetables and less cheese or your sandwiches. Ask for a side salad instead of french fries or chips
– Try to aim for at least 2 servings of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables a day.
– Cook your own food when you can! You might think buying a meal plan is cheaper but it’s actually not! Buy the lowest food plan if you must and supplement with buying your own healthy foods!
Tips for Working Out
– Grab a friend! Working out with a friend not only motivates you, but it can also help you feel more comfortable in the gym.
– Try group exercise classes! Your university probably offers a list of classes that will give you an awesome workout (zumba, cardio dance, bootcamp, yoga, pilates, cycling, kickboxing)
– Don’t just be a cardio machine bunny! Yes, cardio is great but just as important are other types of activities that build muscle. Aim for 3 days of cardio a week and 2 days of weights!
Staying healthy during your college years does not mean eating salad for every single meal and it certainly does not mean you have to give up having a great college experience! The key is to find a balance-a balance between eating healthy the majority of the time and then giving yourself a mental break here and there and leave some room for the “not so healthy” things you love! The reason why I know how important balance is, is because I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I was once a freshman going out 2-3 nights a week and coming home eating a full blown meal at 4am. And at the same time, I had 1-2 years in college being COMPLETELY health obsessed… TOO obsessed that I counted every calorie of food going in my mouth! No bueno!
Remember that your college years are some of the best of your life. Eat healthy, work out, and remember… everything in moderation and balance are key!
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