Healthy Habits for Back to School

Don’t want to lose that summer beach body? You worked really hard to look great this past summer, why throw it away at school? It can be easy to cave and eat carbs and sweets at the dining hall or your favorite restaurant, but with the right mindset and ambition, we can all overcome temptations and have a healthy semester.

Take eating healthy to a new level by looking out for hidden ingredients in what you are consuming. Lunchmeat like turkey or ham in a wheat wrap sounds healthy. However, it contains a large amount of sodium, which bloats you and can affect your heart and kidneys. Instead, try grilled chicken. Wheat is always a healthier alternative to white grain carbs. Nevertheless, it is still a processed food that contains sugar and sodium as well. Your body needs an intake of carbs everyday for energy so do not rule out all carbs, just make sure you are choosing healthier ones.

Don’t forget, even vegetables contain healthy carbs. Try carb cycling, which means eating higher carbs one day and lower carbs the next in order to keep your metabolism guessing and your intake of processed foods balanced.

The salad bar is always a healthy option in the dining hall but do you get sick of salad? Well, go to the salad bar and don’t get lettuce Skip right to the healthy toppings. You can make a perfectly balanced meal using the veggies, beans, and chicken. In the mood for Mexican? Fill your bowl with chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes, corn and chopped onions. This tastes just like a burrito without the carb-packed tortilla. Try veggies and hummus for a snack instead of chips.

Director of Health Service Kathy Maloney said, “You have some great, healthy choices on campus, just avoid the late night snacking and junk foods. The most important thing to remember is portion control.”

Fruit is not always the best option if you’re trying to lose weight. It has great health benefits and low calories but is high in sugars. More than one serving a day can increase your daily sugar intake enough to affect your weight. Stick to one serving a day at breakfast or after a workout.

Snacks are the highlight of a school day. However, don’t make them empty calories that will leave you hungry soon after. Stock up your room with healthy snacks. If you can be disciplined in the grocery store, it will be easier to be disciplined when you’re hungry.

Fill your snack bin with almonds, pistachios, ready-to-go brown rice cups, frozen or canned vegetables, plain oatmeal, sugar free pudding cups and dark chocolate for the sweet tooth. Save money and calories by skipping a bag of chips or granola bar in the Student Center.  If you must grab something on the go, look for the lowest sugar protein bars, yogurt, or trail mix.

Also, be careful of what drinks you choose. Even diet drinks contain fake sugars and sodium that will cause bloating and prevent weight loss.

Maloney added, “Be aware of sugary drinks like lattes with empty calories.” If you get sick of boring water, try adding lemon or fresh fruit to it.”

“I find it really hard to eat healthy on campus but the Dining Hall does provide some healthier options; it just takes discipline to choose them,” said Cheyenne Richardson, sophomore math and elementary education major.

The Dining Hall also has an app, Campus Dish, which you can use for nutritional information. Think out of the box and you’ll be amazed how easy it is to stay healthy during the school year.