Mackenzie Hurlbert – Copy Editor –
At college we become the beasts our parents feared. We’re away from their supervision. We decide our own meals, when we choose to go to class, and what time we go to bed. And since we are now out of the nest and free to basically do whatever we want without any parental supervision, some decisions may be regrettable…like deciding it was a good idea to stay up ‘til 3 a.m. eating Ranch Doritos and watching late night comedy shows before an 8 a.m. class.
We no longer have mom cooking one healthy meal at night. Instead we have a variety of meals per night at Conn, which gives us the chance to sample from all of the dishes—if they look appetizing enough. Then we return home at the end of the semester in jeans that are a little too snug and greet our parents with sleep-deprived grunts.
With New Year resolutions being put to the test, losing weight–—the most common resolution—is not easy when tempted with such a wide array of food, much of which is neither nutritious nor healthy. It also is a challenge when facing this task alone with little to no guidance or instruction. Staying healthy during the semester is tough and demanding. You have to make the right choices, even when that corned beef hash and fried hash brown seem too good to pass up. Some people choose radical diets, like the Paleo or Atkins diets, and if that works for you, keep it up; however, I would much rather practice moderation within my diet than “elimination.” Moderation and choosing the healthier alternative are two very important concepts if you’re going to plan your diet on your own.
First we must decide, what is moderation and what are the healthier alternatives?
Moderation is eating enough for the nutritious value and not overdoing it. Finding this balance of how much you eat can be tough when you are super hungry, but there are a couple things you can do to curb your eating.
Eat slower than you would usually. Eating slower makes you feel full sooner because your body is given time to adjust to the food entering your system. If you eat quickly, your body is not given enough time for response and to tell you that you’re full. This could result in overeating and feeling grossly stuffed after a meal. Another way to balance what you eat is to use a smaller plate and refuse seconds. That makes sense, considering when you have a larger plate, you are compelled to fill it. In this case, with the use of the smaller plate, you can fill your plate with smaller portions of food and not be overeating. Lastly, and I don’t know how effective this is, but I read that using a blue instead of a red plate helps you curb your appetite because blue is calming and cool while red is a stimulating color and may cause you to feel hungrier than you actually are.
Now for making the right choices when it comes to pick what to eat. The key is research, research, research. And it doesn’t take much! Most of us have smartphones so this information is only a couple clicks away. Here are a couple basic tips for you to start out with. When it comes to protein, choose chicken breast, turkey, or beans. These are high in protein and low in fat. You can also substitute in a handful of nuts, however nuts have a high caloric content and therefore aren’t the best choice. When choosing lettuce, get the romaine over the iceberg, or choose spinach and field greens. Iceberg lettuce is mostly water and has little nutritional value.
Also, stay away from salt and butter. Find different ways to add flavor to your food, like crushed red pepper, hot sauce, or light salad dressing. Lastly, whole grain pasta and breads are much healthier for you than white bread because white bread is more processed and easy to break down into calories. Whole grain stuff forces your body to work harder when digesting it and breaking it down, making it a healthier choice.
It’s tough at times, but dieting in a healthy way is possible. Just remember to eat in moderation and try to choose the healthy alternative. I wish you the best of luck with your New Year resolution endeavors. I hope they all prove to be successful!