By: Sarah Ferrell ’17 University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator
Do you ever get home after a long day of classes and realize that your mouth has the capability of becoming a vacuum for all the food in your room? You eat half the bag of chips, some chocolate, and who knows what else, and then you finally stop. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Keeping a consistent eating pattern is so important to preventing the above scenario. By eating 3 balanced meals and supporting those with 1-2 purposeful snacks a day we can better moderate our eating habits. By getting some food in during the first few hours of waking, we are going to be more alert and energized for the day because we have provided ourselves with some energy. Then we have a mid-day meal to hold us off until we can schedule in dinner at night. Sometimes though these 3 meals are not enough. The average college student tends to stay up later simply due to studying and other social activities. Or maybe you have a really long class day a few times a week and can only eat a short lunch. These are just a few reasons why purposeful snacks are great! They can hold you over until your next main meal, and also supply some energy for late night activities. Another great benefit of snacks is we can usually make better choices at mealtime if we aren’t completely ravenous.
I’m going to share some tips on how to stock your apartment or dorm so you can always have snacks or last minute breakfasts for those busy mornings, but also some ways to manage our environment to encourage better eating!
Okay so finally . . . what you came here for!
4 Nutrition Hacks for Your Apartment
- Keep a bowl of fruit out (visible and accessible for on-the-go).
- You can grab a banana or apple for a quick snack or on-the-go breakfast, and increase your fruit intake as well!
- Keep your fruits and veggies OUT of the drawers in your fridge. Often times we put our fruits and veggies in drawers where they are hidden which causes us to choose them less.
- Prep your meals!
- By dedicating one or two days each week to cook a few items for lunch/dinner it ensures that each day we won’t have to worry about what to eat because it’s already been cooked! I like to do this on Sundays.
- Get a mini crockpot and use it to your advantage. Crockpots are great for cooking your food all day while at classes and then you can come home to a warm meal. You can also get a lot of veggies in this way!
- Keep yogurt and granola on hand.
- This is just one example of a great snack. You get both a serving of dairy (and probiotics!) and grains at the same time.
- Be strategic with where you store “fun foods.”
- By saving fun foods for special occasions and when we go out with friends we eliminate the temptation to only go for those foods over the healthier options.
- Store fun foods in a cabinet or drawer to avoid eating them out of stress or boredom. Like I said, our environment can have a huge influence on our choices so use that to your advantage!
4 Nutrition Hacks for Your Dorm
- Keep packets of instant oatmeal on hand.
- You can get a serving of whole grains in and also have breakfast for those days you may not have time to walk to the diner.
- Low fat popcorn, whole wheat bread, and granola are all great ways to store whole grains in your dorm.
- You can even get one of those behind the door shoe holders and fill it with snacks so you can always grab something on your way out!
- Keep peanut butter and trail mix/nuts on stock for healthy fats.
- You can even use your peanut butter and whole wheat bread to make a sandwich! And grab nuts for snacking during the day. Find these at the Union Shop in the Stamp Student Union.
- Grab a banana or apple from the diner at night to keep in your dorm for a snack that supplies a serving of fruits for the next day or two.
What are some healthy nutrition dorm/apartment hacks you use? Share with us in the comment section below!
To learn more ways to simplify healthy eating in college make an appointment with a Nutrition Coach! Reserve your session by calling 301-314-5664 or e-mail us at UHC-Nutrition@umd.edu