Lazy College Student’s Guide to Healthy Eating

You know what they say – “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Well what if an apple a day also earned you an A? Wouldn’t it be nice if achieving that 4.0 GPA was as easy as eating your recommended daily allowance if fruits and vegetables?

Unfortunately, good greats aren’t solely a product of your daily diet, but they can have more of an impact on your classroom performance than you think. Eating a balanced diet in college not only increases your acuity, concentration, and overall mental well-being, but it’s the key to feeling great, looking great, and developing habits early on that will last a lifetime.

The only problem? Healthy eating takes effort, and as a student of USC’s online MPH program or an undergraduate at Simmons College, the last thing you have the time or energy for is balancing your diet. After all, you’re already busy enough balancing school, work, an internship, and a social calendar.

Don’t fret. Eating right can be easier than you think. Follow this lazy student’s guide and you’ll be eating your way to an A in no time!

In the Food Halls…

You’d think today’s college cafeterias would be well stocked with nutritious, wholesome, healthy foods. Think again. It’s pizzas and pastas and pastries galore. When opting for your entrees and edibles, load up on vegetables and look for dishes that are steamed or grilled rather than fried. The salad bar is always a smart choice, as long as you steer clear of heavy dressings and high calories extras. Watch your portion sizes and eliminate the option for seconds.

In the Dorm Rooms…

Snacking can make or break your diet. Do it right, and it’s one of the best ways to curb hunger, sustain energy, and prevent weight gain. On the other hand, mindless munching can be a disaster waiting to happen. It all hinges on what you eat. Nutritious snacks take no more time or energy to consume than their chip and cookie counterparts. Opt for snacks with a combination of fiber and protein to keep you satisfied longer. Prepackaged options aren’t always unhealthy, but just make sure to read labels, watch calorie, sugar, and fat contents, and do a quick scan of ingredients so you know what you’re putting in your body.

At the Parties…

One of the biggest contributors to that ominous “Freshman 15” is the added alcohol consumption that accompanies the typical college diet. Excessive alcohol adds a lot of empty calories and for some, an unwanted beer belly to boot. When drinking, try to avoid fancy cocktails in lieu of simple seltzer spritzers, wines, and light beers. Alcohol does have a lot of calories, but its often times the added sugary extras that make them big offenders in packing on the pounds. Remember, too, that too much drinking in general is associated with poor health, so even as you limit what you drink, try to limit how much and how often as well.

So whether you’re looking for weight loss in college or your goal is just to better health, these steps will make snacking smart and eating right during your college years a piece of cake…so to speak.

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