Friday, November 22, 2013

How to CONTINUE Eating Well in College

Hello readers! So you are near the end of another (or your first) semester in college and you may have fallen off the healthy path. Like most students I know, after the candy and boozing adventures from Halloween hits, your diet goes down hill. What started out as a valiant effort to be healthy is now just a shadow of a thought. Well, I am here to encourage you to keep eating healthily!
We've all had those days where we have fallen into temptation and thought to ourselves "well, that diet is over so I'll start again next week."What we tend to forget is that a mistake is just that...a mistake! You and your health are going to be okay even though you've had one brownie or didn't plan to eat that slice of pizza at a meeting. If your diet is otherwise impeccable then you will be just fine. The only problem with making one diet mishap is if you let that one slip turn into a lifestyle of bad eating.
However, if you have consistently fallen off the clean path or are now back to eating junk then remember this old saying: you are what you eat. If you eat fatty, sloppy, cheap foods then your body will act that way. Putting grease, sugar, and salt in your body only messes up YOUR system. You may not see or feel it now but you are setting your body up for a heart attack, high blood pressure, or diabetes later in life. Below are some steps to get you back into a healthy diet.
Meal prep photo of grilled chicken and baked sweet potato
  1. Meal Prep - "If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail" Simply put, prepping your meals ahead of time leaves NO wiggle room for fast food or vending machine cravings. If you don't know where to start, then I have already outlined my meal prep guidelines here for you.  Even if you don't have time to cook three days worth of meals, then have a healthy game plan for when you are on campus. On those days where I didn't prep ahead of time for, I packed my backpack full of snacks (such as pistachios, almonds, or grapes) and I will plan to go to Subway. 
    Meal prep photo of grilled chicken and
    sauteed asparagus
  2. Make Healthy Substitutions - If meal prepping is going to be a challenge, then try making healthy substitutions instead! When eating breakfast, switch those hash browns for a fruit salad or make your toast whole wheat! At lunch time, avoid salted deli meats in add in lean proteins such as tuna or chicken breast.  Also, stay away from: fried, creamy, battered, smothered, crispy, or country style foods. These tasty indicators also mean that your meal is going to be high in fat, sodium, sugar, and calories! Switch to roasted, baked, broiled, grilled, steamed, fresh, poached, or sauteed items when eating out. When cooking at home, try using oil and boil your veggies for a lesser time. Not only are crisp vegetables delicious, by but they still contain all the natural colors and minerals that vegetables are supposed to have. These may not be immediate diet overhauls, but these small changes are step in the right direction!
  3. Start Small - Okay, so if the substitutions seem daunting then baby steps are for you. In fact, most people fail at eating healthy because they think they have to dive in 100%. From my personal experience (seeing my roommates) it is MUCH easier to start from one change a day, to one change a meal, to one day a week, then to a week of clean eating than it is to go from eating Ramen to whole grain spaghetti. If you want to start eating healthy but are afraid that healthy foods are going to be bland and dissatisfying then try making one substitution a day. For example, go a day without drinking soda or a Thirsty Thursday without getting wasted. Both steps are easy and your body will thank you for them later. If you hate the way vegetables taste then season them! You don't have to eat cooked and unseasoned food to be healthy! Black pepper goes a loooooong way in my kitchen and is often times a staple or the only thing I use when I cook---especially vegetables.
  4. Think About Yourself - Make your health a priority! You don't have to be a juicing gym freak to be healthy but you should take care of yourself. If you don't take care of YOUR body then NO ONE else will! Sure it is fun going out to burger joints now but I am sure that you won't enjoy getting a diagnosis of high blood pressure or diabetes when you're only 35. You may be able to get away with a fatty lifestyle but don't let outward appearances fool you. Just because you're still able to fit into your clothes doesn't mean that your insides are healthy. Often times, people do not know that they are at risk for a heart attack until they have one. Don't let that be you! Start now to better your health and for a healthier future. LADIES: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE SKINNY TO BE HEALTHY  
-Eating Clean in College

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