You may have heard about the “Freshman-15” long before you entered college. It refers to the myth that freshmen put on up to 15 pounds during their first year in college. Several stress factors such as homesickness, tons of homework, and a fast paced lifestyle may contribute to changes in their bodies but the Freshman 15 is not inevitable…it is a myth! One of the best things you can do as a young adult is learn to lead a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips for you to consider as you choose what to eat:
Choose fruits and veggies at all meals
It is not surprising to see that fruits and veggies make up a significant part of the dietary recommendations in many parts of the world. They are not only a source of water, but also an excellent supply of various vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.
Many fruits and veggies like strawberries, apples, lettuce, and tomatoes contain over 90% of water by weight. It is essential for you to stay hydrated every day since water helps maintain your metabolic rate and contributes to efficient excretion of waste products. Additionally, fruits and veggies contain many different vitamins, minerals and are a significant source of dietary fiber. Citrus fruits are a bomb of vitamin C, which enhances your immune system and protects you from scurvy, certain infections and possibly the common cold. Cantaloupe is not only rich in Vitamin A precursor, antioxidant beta-carotene, but is also rich in potassium! Vitamin A is critical for eye health and potassium is a mineral that assists in controlling the level of sugar in your blood and regulates blood pressure.
Fruits and veggies are also a good source of dietary fiber. Soluble fibers can be found in carrots, barley, beans and oats. This kind of fiber may help lower blood cholesterol levels, which can indicate artery disease. Another beneficial fiber is insoluble fiber that helps speed up the passage of waste in the intestinal tract. It can be found in potatoes and many other veggies, whole grains and nuts.
Choose Healthy snacks
The temptation is often great to reach for salty or sweet snacks between meals. One of the ways to replace these snacks with healthy ones is to keep healthy foods readily available in your dorm room or kitchen. Things like yogurt, whole wheat bread, nuts and various in season fruits.
Yogurt will not only provide you nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium, but it also adds probiotics to your digestion system which are a “good bacteria”.
Walnuts are the nuts highest in antioxidants although other nuts are good choices, too. Antioxidants strengthen your body’s ability to fight inflammation and help repair cellular damage. Furthermore, most nuts also contribute to lower cholesterol level and better heart function. These are excellent options for you if you want to grab something to eat while you study.
Don’t skip meals
It is vital to supply adequate energy to your body during the day. The most important meal is breakfast, which you may not pay serious attention to. After a long sleep, your body is starved for energy. As you wake up and get back to normal work, it is important to fuel your body. Incorporate a blend of complex carbohydrate, a source of protein and some grain. Yogurt with granola and fruit is a great example.
Eating at least three meals each day allows you to refuel your body so that you stay energized and do work or study at an optimal level. If you skip a meal, you will likely feel tired and dull. Skipping meals may actually cause you to binge at the next meal. Your body will try its best to absorb as much as energy as possible to make up for the lost meal, which can result in overeating.
Do more cooking at home
When eating out, you may notice that you have hard time controlling the type and the amount of food consumed. Normally, food made in a restaurant contains more salt, oil, and sugar than the food you make on your own at home.
Doing your own cooking allows you to use fresh veggies and raw foods. You get to decide how much seasoning and dressing you want to add to your dish. While eating in the dining hall, you can use menu information to help decide which dish is right for you. Oh, and take advantage of that salad bar, too.
Hopefully, these tips help you develop a healthy eating style. Enjoy fresh healthy food as your go-to each day!