I hope you’re having a good day! I wanted to write about healthy eating in college. It’s a nice idea but doesn’t always translate to the obstacles we face in real life. When I first got to Columbia, there were so many events with sugary treats and salty snacks. It was hard to avoid the temptations of the dining hall and its endless buffet of ice cream and french fries. It’s so easy to gain weight those first couple weeks of school. I know I did because I didn’t have the tools to avoid these temptations. First, I’d like to say that it’s okay to indulge in an occasional treat, but it’s not good to eat like that on a regular basis. I’ve learned some things along the way about healthy eating in and out of school.
- Don’t beat yourself up for eating that cookie. It won’t kill you, I promise. Just remember that you can do better tomorrow.
- Find healthier substitutes for what you currently eat. Instead of potato chips, try edamame with a bit of salt. Or, Greek yogurt instead of a cupcake. I’ll include a list of my favorite snacks and meals at the end of this post.
- Find inspiration in your favorite YouTubers, vloggers or bloggers. I like to watch Cambria Joy’s health/wellness videos for advice on healthy eating.
- Learn how to cook – that way you can control what you eat. New recipes are fun to learn. Go on Pinterest and see what you find! I also like the Food Network website for delicious meal ideas. Figure out what healthy options are available in your dining hall too. They’re likely to have a website you can go on to learn about nutritional information.
- Let your friends, family and significant other know that you’re trying to eat healthier. It’s important to have a support system that can cheer you on when you’re struggling or need advice. It’s like that at my house – my parents and I are doing our best to select healthier dinner options together.
- Keep track of your progress. Write down what you eat. There are a bunch of great print outs on Pinterest that allow you to do this. Or you can write this information in a journal or on a notepad. This will keep you accountable for your actions and you’ll be able to see the progress you’ve made.
- Instead of soda or lemonade, try having water or iced tea. Staying hydrated will keep you full longer and give you more energy.
- Find another habit to replace bad snacking. You could get a coloring book, spend time with a friend/significant other or read a good book (I’m reading the second book in the Pretty Little Liars series right now! It’s so good!).
- Be aware of when you usually eat. Is it emotional? Or physical? There’s a big difference between the two. For example, you might eat a bunch of ice cream if you got into a fight with a friend. Otherwise, physical hunger is normal and it means your body needs nourishment.
- Take time for yourself and do the best you can everyday. Having a positive attitude towards health/wellness will set you on the path to success.
My Favorite Healthy Snacks/Meals:
- Any type of roasted vegetable (broccoli, asparagus, zucchini) with olive oil, salt and pepper, sometimes oregano
- Edamame with a bit of salt
- Greek Yogurt
- Cheese and Crackers (Cheddar and Colby Jack are my favorites)
- Morning Glory Muffins
- Chicken with vegetables and a plain baked potato
- Whole Wheat Pasta with a homemade tomato sauce
- A fruit-based salad (I like the Strawberry and Chicken Poppy seed salad from Panera)
- Pita Chips and Hummus
- Chips and Salsa
- Chicken/Beef/Vegetarian Stir Fry
- Black Bean Soup with a demi-sized whole grain baguette
Let me know what you do to eat healthy, I’m interested to hear what you think. Being healthy is initially hard if you’re not used to it. It takes time for any habit to become a routine, so don’t become discouraged. Keep going! I’ll be cheering you on.
*The images included in this post are from Pinterest and are not my own.