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How to Eat Healthy on Campus

Expert Reveals Six Easy Tips for Students

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SHE Dean McKinney suggests that students choose beverages without sugar. One eight-ounce glass of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.

By Shortie McKinney

This is the first article in series for students on how to succeed in school and life. 

Eating healthy comes down to being mindful of food and beverage choices throughout your day. Every eating event is an opportunity to choose health. 

By making smarter food decisions today, you may notice that you’ll have more energy and can think more clearly during exams. But the payoff later in life is even greater. What diseases run in your family? The food choices you make today will help you reduce your future risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. Unfortunately, these diseases are also showing up at increased rates in younger people.

With your busy schedule of classes, exams, activities and work, how can you find the time to eat healthy? Take these small steps to yield big rewards. 

  1. Choose water over soda. Can you imagine dipping your spoon into the sugar bowl and eating 10 teaspoons of sugar? This is what one, eight-ounce soda contains. Instead, choose water or sugar-free drinks. Drink at least eight cups of water, low fat milk or low/zero calorie beverages. Beware of the ‘hidden’ calories in alcoholic beverages.
  2. Choose whole grains. When you’re waiting in line in the cafeteria, you’re faced with many choices. One easy choice is to select whole wheat bread for sandwiches or have whole grain cereal for breakfast. You’ll feel fuller longer with longer-lasting energy.
  3. Keep healthy snacks on hand. For in between meals, curb over-eating by carrying healthy snacks with you during your busy day. Fiber-rich granola bars, dried fruit and nuts are excellent choices. Carry snacks with a long shelf life in your backpack.
  4. Beware of portion sizes. Reducing portion sizes is one of the best ways to reduce calories. Take your time eating and see how full you are after 20 minutes. Try not to go back for seconds.
  5. Eat healthy fats. Replace food that contains saturated fat, such as red meat and whole milk, with healthy fats such as almonds, olive oil and seeds. Your hair, skin, brain and heart will thank you. Omega 3 fats that are in salmon and other fish can reduce cardiovascular disease as well as improve your mood. 
  6. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. Packed with vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables help protect against diseases. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit. Limit meat to one-quarter of your plate. Besides the obvious salad, try a smoothie with non-fat, soy or almond milk.

Make these simple changes to nourish both your body and mind.