It is the day before your first final exam. You are sitting at your desk inside your dorm with an ultra-expensive psychology book, a book on the history of the European Union, and a calculus textbook which might as well have been written in a foreign language. You have written countless papers of indescribable length, taken many naps in odd places, and have not seen the light of day in a long time. The last thing you want to worry about is food. You have made it this far with questionable and seemingly cheap choices. You know the first and last names of every person working at the local Burger King, you have Domino’s on speed dial, you have not seen an apple or an orange since high school, and you always do a double take every time you pass a vending machine.
This life has not been without consequences however. The belt has been loosened or disregarded all together in favor of sweatpants so you will never know what your true waist size has become. Anytime someone says “gym” your first reaction is “Yeah I know him. He’s a cool guy.” You are endlessly tired and frankly do not feel too well. Couple all of this with your new found passion for alcohol and you have one drunk and miserable semester. Here are some helpful tips which can increase your wallet size and decrease your waistline.
Small Meals, Small Portions
Typically in college you eat when you can. With classes back to back and mounds of homework, papers, and reading material a lot of college students find it hard-pressed to sit still long enough to think — let alone prepare a nutritious meal. The beauty of living a lifestyle in which your mind is constantly working and your body is constantly moving is that small meals spaced out every 2-3 hours are actually better for you as opposed to 3 large meals with a lot of space in between.
For the morning hours, proteins and complex carbs are ideal to give you energy to get your day started before you head to your 8am class cursing yourself for making such a bonehead decision of picking that class. Eggs and oatmeal are great choices. They are easy to make, require little effort and are great tasting as well. A granola bar and a few almonds are great for a 10-11am snack as you’re winding down from listening to your professor’s monotone voice and annoying propensity to laugh at his own jokes. Perhaps a light fruit option or a vegetable is more of your style. These options work well if you find yourself falling asleep in class and can give you a healthier boost as opposed to the M&Ms you picked up at the vending machine outside of the classroom.
Lunch is an underrated meal; however, it is vitally important in giving you a good boost as you head into the middle of the day. Around the 1-2pm hour you will find most of your friends in the cafeteria waiting in line for stale macaroni and cheese or — if they are REALLY lucky — a Taco Bell or McDonald’s right on campus. Instead, head to your nearest grocery store or corner market and buy a whole wheat loaf of bread with lean meat and some veggies. Disregard mayo, the dressing, and cheese. These add unnecessary calories to the sandwich. As well, try your hardest not to go our for lunch too often. Portions at many restaurants are humongous and leave you feeling bloated and tired for the rest of the day. Not to mention these choices will make your wallet feel extremely light. Avoid when you can!
You have just completed your second class of the day and you are about to break down in tears as you hear that there will be a unit exam next week. After you collect yourself, you realize it is close to 6pm and are hungry again. This is the meal where you can load up on vegetables. Beware though! A lot of frozen vegetables are packed with sodium to make them last longer. While the science is out whether this takes away from the nutritious value of the vegetables themselves, there is no question that added sodium is not good for your body. A healthy salad is a great choice and it is easy to make! Lay off of your favorite Italian dressing, ranch dressing, or chunky blue cheese. Like the sandwich you had earlier, these add unnecessary calories to your meal. If you must add these to your salad, do so in moderation.
Light snacks such as fruit, lightly salter peanuts/almonds, and nonfat options — such as nonfat greek yogurt — are readily available on many campuses. If not, the local corner market is your best friend. So make sure to visit it often.
Many campuses hire students to become personal trainers for others. So if you are dedicated, and have some extra cash, explore this option. Otherwise, visit the gym 3-4 times per week for at least one hour per visit if you want to stave off extra pounds. If you would like to drastically change your appearance, more trips and longer stays are needed. Many websites provide some amazing workouts that you can utilize at your campus gym. A quick Google search will provide you all the necessary exercises! Do not be afraid to take the stairs and make sure to walk at all possible times. You will be surprised how much weight you can lose by simply walking more often. We have been blessed with two feet… so USE THEM!
My final tip: alcohol in college can be your greatest friend and your worst enemy. While I am not advocating for a completely sober four years, moderation is key. If you go out 3-4 times per week, your waistline will reflect that. So be smart!
I hope these tips were helpful. We have all heard these before in one fashion or another; however, it is always good to be reminded of simple tips that may just slip our minds during our fits of crying and hatred for all things chemistry. Have a healthy four years!