Eating Healthy While Away at College

For students moving away from home for their first year in school, nutrition is absolutely critical.

College life has become so much associated with bad nutrition that it’s become a cliché. Every teen movie depicts the average college student as being someone who lives exclusively off of pop, pizza and ramen noodles. And the reality isn’t that far from the truth… especially during your first year.

Of course, it’s only natural that this should happen. many of these students are children who’ve lived with their parents for their entire lives. They’ve mostly led a sheltered life with parents and siblings who’ve shared in the chores and cooking. But suddenly, they’re pushed out of the nest and expected to become self-sustaining.

This situation is further compounded by lack of financial resources for good food, and a heavy course load which doesn’t leave much room for other things.

But nutrition is absolutely critical during this very important phase in a student’s development. An improper diet can lead to health problems, low energy, and difficulty in memorizing course material.

However, eating properly doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge or a time-consuming chore. In fact, with the advice outlined below, you can maintain a nutritious diet plan which takes up less time, and will usually be cheaper than what the typical student would eat.

The Difference Between Eating and Feeding Yourself

  • Eating is a reactive process. You wait until you’re hungry, and then seek out a convenient means of satiating this hunger. Because of the convenience factor, this usually ends up being some sort of processed or industrialized pre-packaged food which is ready to eat right out of the box. Or worse, some low-quality fast-food from a chain restaurant.
  • Feeding yourself is a proactive activity. You decide what you’re going to eat well in advance, and then set scheduled time slots for you to take in those nutrients. Usually, this means eating before you feel hungry, so you rarely get tempted to cheat. This is how athletes stay in peak physical shape.

Eating Well Does Not Need To Be Expensive Or Time-Consuming

The most commonly cited excuses for students with poor nutritional habits tend to be:

  • It’s too expensive to eat nutritious
  • I don’t have time to cook all those meals

The problem with junk food is that it lacks nutrients that your body craves. So although it might temporarily cure this hunger sensation, it won’t resolve the original source of this hunger. This means that your body will become deficient in the vitamins, proteins, minerals and complex carbohydrates that it requires to stay alert and absorb knowledge.

Many students make this situation worse by trying to compensate for these problems with energy drinks, sugar, caffeine pills and other chemicals of questionable legality. These tactics only worsen the rises and crashes, and have other undesired health effects.

Maintain a well-balanced diet from the beginning can be much easier, more convenient and cheaper. The trick is to cook in bulk.

Professional bodybuilders often eat 6 meals per day, totalling 4000 daily calories. In order to maintain this diet, they will typically cook twice per week. In these massive cooking sessions, they prepare 3 days worth of food and portion everything out into Tupperware containers.

When it’s time to eat another meal, they simply grab a container, throw it in the microwave, and it’s ready.

This is a very convenient way to maintain a complex diet. And because you’re cooking everything yourself from raw ingredients, you’ll pay much less than you would for a pre-packaged microwave frozen dinner. (And the quality will be better)

It gets much simpler if you commit yourself to eating the same thing every day. It’s not as boring as you would imagine… and you can reserve one “cheat day” per week to add some variety.

By following the advice laid out in this article, students can ensure that their first year of college will be full of good health, and that they’ll feel energized and alert during all of their classes and study sessions.

About The Author: Commonwealth Place is the premier Brantford off-campus housing for Laurier and Mowhawk students in Canada.

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