how to eat healthy in college

Jessica Pellegrino General Assignment Reporter 

Between the stress of classes, lack of time, and all of the food options Southern has to offer, students have increasingly become less concerned with their eating habits. Set the scene; you have just pulled an all-nighter writing a paper for a particularly difficult class and you’ve dragged yourself out of bed for your 8:10 a.m. class. You walk into the Student Center and suddenly your nostrils are overwhelmed by the scent of Nathan’s breakfast sandwiches and sugary-sweet iced coffees from Dunkin Donuts. Under these circumstances, it’s hard to make healthy decisions about food while in college. Temptation is all around students and they often make poor choices.

However, certain lifestyle changes can alter your eating habits without being overwhelming. Since college is a very fast-paced and busy time for students, planning often does not go into meals. To combat this, Chartwells, Southern’s supplier of food for venues such as Connecticut Hall and the Bagel Wagon, created a website. The website, which is accessible through Southern’s main page, lists exactly what is on the menu including serving size, calorie amounts, and the dietary restrictions it caters to. So, if you are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, you will be able to see exactly what you could eat. By planning what you are going to eat before you get to the dining hall, you are less likely to walk in with the buffet mentality. In the time it would take to update a Facebook status or upload a picture to Instagram, a student could plan out their breakfast, lunch and dinner with this tool and know exactly how many calories they are eating. The website also features a calorie counter, recipe sheets, and countless other tools for making health conscious decisions.

As easy as it is to choose an unhealthy option, it is just as easy to choose a healthy one. Shawn Gilhuly, Southern junior, shares some of the quick tips he has picked up while staying healthy in college over the years. He suggests, “Drink the fruit infused waters from Conn instead of having soda or juice.” Hydration in college is key for proper functioning, but juices and sodas often have more sugars or unnatural sweeteners in them than a candy bar. Water, when naturally sweetened with fruits, such as strawberries or oranges, is a similar experience to juice with the added benefit of the antioxidants in real, whole, fruit. Gilhuly also adds, “You should really take extra time making your meals because your body will thank you later. You have the options in front of you. There are plenty of healthy options as well as unhealthy ones so make the right choice.” The Student Center, Conn Hall, and the market,  all have salads and low-calorie option sandwiches, all available for purchase with food loot.

Your healthy lifestyle does not need to start and stop with healthy eating. The SCSU Fitness Center recently expanded their afternoon hours and lowered the price of a membership. With hours well into the night and early in the morning, students have easy opportunities to work out. Together, a healthy amount of exercise and a well-balanced diet can increase your energy levels, help you sleep better, and improve your immune system (United States Department of Agriculture.) These are all extremely important benefits for a student because they allow you to do well and have fun.

Eating healthy in college is a lot easier than students may think it is. Southern offers many resources including healthy food options, meal planning tools, and a full-sized gym to insure that students can have success, healthy lives during the mile-a-minute stress of college.

Photo Credit: Foodswings Meal



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