For many students, college is the first time they will be away from home for any significant amount of time. When living with their parents, some students have no option but to eat healthy, well-balanced diets. In college, however, there are no parents to loom behind when students pick out what to eat.
Overwhelmed with their newfound freedom, many freshmen may choose to eat pizza every day for two weeks straight, go through a pint of ice cream nightly or engage in otherwise unhealthy eating habits. While it is difficult, students should resist the temptation to gorge on unhealthy food and stay mindful of their health when choosing what to eat.
If students do not keep up with their eating habits, the freshman 15 can quickly escalate into the senior 50. Del Taco every night may seem like a good idea when students are busy with school, work and social habits, but in the end the extra weight will only hurt them.
The stereotype of the beer-guzzling, pizza-worshipping college student does not need to be true. However, if students want to live that kind of lifestyle, they must live with the bulging beer-belly that will inevitably follow. In fact, the stereotypical college diet does not match up with another, more ubiquitous college stereotype—the broke university student.
Students can get more bang for their buck, both in quantity and quality, by making healthy food choices. Students should not feel like they are condemned to pudginess just because they are in college. There are plenty of healthy, affordable options for students both on and off campus.
Junk food is expensive, and is lacking nutritionally. Instead of spending money on junk food, students should buy healthy groceries from HEB or the local farmers market. It is significantly cheaper for students to make their own meals rather than buying food from restaurants or fast food joints. If students cannot be bothered to make their own meals, there are many fast options such as healthy frozen meals available.
If students have enough money to eat junk food nightly, they can afford to eat well. There is no excuse for students to eat poorly when healthy food is affordable, readily available and easy to make. If students struggle to afford their own healthy food, there is aid such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program food stamps, which can help students purchase healthy groceries.
Alternately, if students live on campus and have a meal plan, they should opt for healthy options like salads or homestyle meals from Commons instead of Panda Express or Pizza Hut. The Chartwells website has nutrition information for all the dining establishments on campus, enabling students to know precisely what they are putting into their bodies.
Making simple changes like limiting soda intake or avoiding heavy dressings and other condiments can help students stay healthy. Being healthy does not always have to be about making drastic changes. Little things like opting out or limiting drinking at parties and choosing to drink water with meals instead of soda can help students stay fit and avoid packing on the extra pounds.
Students do not need to give up unhealthy foods altogether. Eating a bag of chips every now and then will not completely wreck a student’s health. Students can do other things such as hitting the gym in an attempt to stay in shape. It is not possible to out-exercise a bad diet, but staying active cannot hurt.
The freshman 15 does not have to be inevitable. Students have plenty of healthy options available to them, if they are willing to commit to a lifestyle change.