You’re waiting in line on campus to find your lunch. Sure you could get a salad, but that pizza looks like it just came out of the oven and those French fries smell delicious. It’s an easy trap to fall into at college—you make your own food choices regardless of any judgment. Sometimes, we have the best intentions, but it’s just too tempting to eat what might not be the best for us.
Since coming to college, I’ve picked up a few tips to keep myself eating well while on-the-go, both on campus and in my apartment.
- Eat your colors! This does not necessarily include the red of pizza sauce, the white and brown of melted cheese and the tan pizza crust. One of the simplest ways to ensure a good variety of food is to try and eat every color of the rainbow. Try some purple grapes, red berries or orange carrots. Eating every color makes you remember the fruits and veggies that may fall by the wayside.
- Cut the soda—and the caffeine. We all know how easy it is to rely on a cup of coffee or a bottled soda as a pick-me-up during a long day of classes, and while occassionally it’s okay to indulge in the super-sugary drinks, the crash that inevitably follows simply isn’t worth it. Instead, try tea (which will still give you a bit of that needed caffeine) or a big glass of water. A protein-rich snack, like nuts or Greek yogurt with berries, is a better option to provide the energy you’re looking for.
- Watch your snacking! It’s easy (and inexpensive) to keep junk food around your apartment. Instead of falling into those habits, pick up some single-serving snack packs, granola bars or fruit the next time you go grocery shopping. An apple with peanut butter or sunflower butter is good for a salty-sweet snack, and frozen grapes are almost like a slushy you can eat with your hands.
- Don’t skip meals. Even if you’re rushing out the door, eating is a part of your routine that should not be forgotten. Set out breakfast the night before so you can grab it if you’re running late. You need the energy to keep yourself awake and focused during classes. Eating at regular intervals keeps you energized throughout the day and helps you avoid unhealthy snacking.
- Don’t stress about food. If you really feel like having a slice of pizza on a Friday, do it. Eat the French fries and the grilled cheese if you’ve got a craving for them. By making something taboo, you’ll only want it more, and when you do eventually indulge (because you will,) you’ll end up eating in excess. It is okay to slip away from the healthy food path and eat a candy bar every once in a while. However, moderation is your friend.