By: Jessica Ivy ’15, University Health Center Dietetic Intern
Swamped? No time to think about food?
Whether it’s your first semester or your last, the grueling pace of the school year can be overwhelming. Balancing academic demands with extracurricular commitments can leave you drained by the end of week one.
The following list of 10 healthy eating habits requires very little time but can make a BIG difference. They will help you fuel your body for success and keep your energy levels high throughout the day. This can make everything in your life seem more manageable.
Pick a few tips to try this week!
- Eat smart on the go: With a schedule that often leaves you little time to even think about food, it is important to plan ahead. Take 15 minutes on Saturday or Sunday and pack healthy snacks in little plastic bags that are easy to grab on your way out the door. Think portable and choose items like grapes, apple slices, string cheese, almonds, and whole grain crackers.
- Hydrate: Even when the weather gets cooler, it is so important to keep your body hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you to class to remind you to drink on a regular basis. If you have a hard time drinking a lot of water, you can mix it up with options like lowfat milk, juice, and even coffee and tea. Make sure the bulk of your fluid is coming from water.
- Get on a sleep schedule: As hard as it is in college, getting sleep is essential! If you get into a routine, you will find that you have more energy throughout the day and are much more productive.
- Fuel your late night studying: If you burn the midnight oil in the library, you probably get hungry if you’re eating dinner at 6 or 7 p.m. Plan a healthy snack in advance to carry you through until bedtime. This will improve your concentration and productivity.
- Start the day right: Even if you aren’t a breakfast person, eating something small will make a big difference. Your body needs a boost in the morning to get its metabolism charged up.
- Set yourself up to succeed by having a plan: Set aside 10 minutes on a Sunday evening to plan your meals for the week. Decide when you can fit them in, where you will go, or what you will bring with you to campus.
- Snack purposefully: Choose snacks that will keep you satisfied. Pairing a carbohydrate source and a protein source will keep your metabolism humming and your energy high. Some ideas are cheese with whole grain crackers, carrots with hummus, and apple slices with peanut butter.
- Don’t deprive yourself: Let yourself enjoy the foods you love, and don’t feel guilty. Just keep the portion sizes in check.
- Eat consistently throughout the day: The longer you go between meals or snacks, the more likely it is that you will overeat later in the day. Keep food with you throughout the day to keep your energy up.
- Make an appointment: To learn more strategies for organizing your nutrition plan, reserve a session for a free diet analysis with one of the dietetic interns at the health center.