Noémie VallièresHealthy Habits: 11 Ways to Stay Healthy in College

By Noémie Vallières

Maintaining healthy habits in college can sometimes be harder than passing a physic exam. College cafeterias, late-night snacks, stress and anxiety, recurrent parties and packed schedules that leave no time for exercise are all factors leading to unhealthy lifestyle. There is no doubt that the eating and exercising habits of every freshman is probably one of the biggest adjustments when entering college. The famously inevitable “freshman 15″ weight gain can be quite frustrating and discouraging. However, the unhealthy habits promoted during this first year of college will definitely stick to your lifestyle after graduation. Here are 9 tips on how to stay healthy in college.

1. Stock up on healthy snacks
Rather than running to the vending machine during your breaks or your late night study session, you should always snack on healthier items, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, dried fruits, whole wheat crackers, granola bars and yogurt. As a bonus, these kinds of foods keep you fuller longer.

2.Drink smart
Staying hydrated keeps you awake, lower your appetite by making you feel fuller and is highly beneficial for your brain and concentration. Even though college is also synonym for frat parties, it surely does not mean you have to overdo on the alcohol. Try to be smart about the kinds of drinks you consume and especially the quantity. Moreover, you should always pick water over sugary drinks. Keeping a bottle of water by your side will constantly remind you to drink more. A good alternative for tasteful, yet calorie-less drinks for those of you who dislike the dreary taste of water is tea.

3.Eat more
Eating smaller meals at more frequent time during the day can be a good alternative since smaller portions are easier to digest and you won’t experience the bloating and heavy feeling the intake of a larger meal causes. This is a great tip, especially when you have busy school schedules with small breaks.

4.Get enough sleep
Sleep is a great way of repairing and replenishing the entire body. Being deprived of sufficient sleep strongly affects academic performance as well as overall mood and relationships. You should always try to have 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. This may seams impossible to achieve due to the humongous amount of projects and homework to do, but it can definitely be accomplished through an efficient time management and the establishment of a routine.

5.Walk it out
Having a very busy and packed schedule can make exercising an impossible and unmanageable task to do, especially when mid-terms and finals kick in. Therefore, the easiest and most efficient way to stay active in college
is to walk as much as possible. When going out to nearby restaurants or clubs, try walking. It is healthier and will avoid the need for a designated driver, allowing everybody to have a great time. Also, choosing stairs over elevators can make a big difference since it helps building thighs and calves muscles as well as improving your cardio.

6.Shop wisely
The best way to guarantee healthy eating habits is to buy only healthy foods. Indeed, keeping junk food around your dorm will strongly influence you into choosing unhealthy options when hunger kicks in. Your grocery list should always contain fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meats and yogurts. By opting for whole grain pasta, rice, cereal or bread and choosing olive oil instead of butter can cause a sufficient alteration of your figure. Finally, you should buy everything in smaller quantities and little packages to prevent massive binging.

7.Establish a routine
College can be quite overwhelming and chaotic, but in order to figure out convenient times to eat and exercise, you need to get used to your class schedule. Even though, they will most likely vary from day to day, creating a routine for each day, and planning accordingly will surely prevent those undesirable “Freshman 15” and will guarantee a healthier lifestyle. Always eat a healthy breakfast every morning, make a workout schedule that works with your classes, create a study plan to prevent all-nighters and try to eat at the same hour every day. By stopping your intake of food everyday before 7 or 8 pm, you highly reduce the risk of unnecessary late-night snacks.

8.Eat high quality junk
Let’s be honest, if you are going to indulge in food that is bad for your body, it better be extremely savoring and tasty. French fries, sweets and burgers are readily available all day at the campus cafeteria. However, the actual quality and taste of these greasy foods is not vey satisfactory. Therefore, try to order the best junk food from a local and popular pizzeria or Chinese place. Also, who said having healthy eating habits meant you had to cross junk from your diet? By treating yourself once in a while with delicious and fatty food will allow you to feel satisfied and pleased without becoming an everyday habit.

9. Listen to your body
If you’re hungry, you’re hungry. Denying yourself isn’t going to make the hunger vanish. Learn your limit, eat foods that are sustaining and eat until you’re full to reduce your cravings. And if you spend the whole day eating healthy food and you still want that late night snack, well go for it. It is all about balance and moderation, not about deprivation.

Hence, college is an overwhelming and stressful period of your life, so it’s crucial that you stay active, get enough sleep, make healthy food choices and learn to stay calm when you’re under pressure. However, college is a once in a lifetime experience and therefore, you should never forget to enjoy it while it lasts.

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