A Healthy Diet for College Students Designed by Regina Crews Secretary of Student Support Services
The average college student is often pressed for time, under a lot of stress and eating on the go. You may find it difficult to avoid bad habits like skipping meals or frequenting fast food restaurants. But eating a healthy diet can help you feel better, cope with stress and perform better in the classroom. Almost 70% of students are not consuming the daily-recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. 60% are eating too much saturated fat and say that they know their diets have gone downhill since they started college. It really isn’t that hard to get started. • While many students are simply “too busy” to prepare a home cooked meal, this doesn’t mean that fast food “grab-n-go is the only choice. Eating patterns depend on their schedules. A student’s environment heavily constitutes their eating habits. • Students are probably the busiest people on earth. They juggle classes, student activities, sports, jobs, all of which make for jam-packed schedules. So what can they do about good nutrition?
Eating Out • More than likely the school’s cafeteria offers healthy alternatives to fried chicken and hamburgers. Most offer salads or low fat alternatives. • Instead of a cookie or a piece of cake, try a banana or apple instead. • Instead of ice cream, try yogurt. • A good deli sandwich is a satisfying alternative to fast food. Whole wheat or rye bread with your choice of meat, cheese and veggies offer a healthy and tasty alternative to grease laden fried burgers and fries.
If you decide to visit a restaurant for some “classy” food, be aware of what you are ordering. Red meats are good in moderation, but chicken and fish are a much better alternative as long as they are not deep-fried or smothered in some type of sauce. • A good salad will often fill you up, but avoid heavy dressings such as: Caesar, cream and cheese-based dressings. Red Vinaigrette is a better choice to liven up your salad.
Dining In • Instead of microwaveable meals put these items on your shopping list: broccoli, corn, spinach, carrots, chicken, pasta, vegetable sauce, apples, oranges, fruit juice, 1% or skim milk, bottled water, oatmeal, yogurt, eggs and so forth. • Try to be balanced, such as eating a meal that has rice, spinach, and chicken. Starches are important even though people will tell you that fewer carbohydrates are better. If you are exercising regularly you will need some carbs to burn while working out. • Try getting a bit inventive in the kitchen. A recipe is made so that anyone can follow it, as long as you have a few measuring cups and spoons available. There are cookbooks specifically designed to help cook a healthy and hearty meal quickly.
More Suggestions • A regimen of aerobic exercise of 20-30 minutes five days a week should very quickly have you in a smaller size and give you more energy. When you are stressed, funnel that stress into exercise. • Try to watch when you eat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Try having a glass of orange juice or milk in the morning. Add a bowl of oatmeal, cornflakes, or wheat toast with jelly. Not only will you find yourself more energized for the day’s activities, you will be cheerier in the morning. When you eat late at night, your body does not have the same opportunity to process and digest the food properly. • Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep your skin smooth and tricks your body into feeling full on very few calories. Drinking 8 glasses a day helps keep your body hydrated and flushes out your system to fight off illness.
10 Healthy Eating Tips for the Busy College Student • 1. Eat a good breakfast. Studies show that skipping breakfast detracts from scholastic achievement. • 2. If you must eat fast foods, chose wisely. Choose pizza with half the cheese, a regular size roast beef sandwich, baked potato, or green salad with reduced calorie dressing. • 3. Keep healthful snacks on hand so if hunger strikes during a late night study session, you won’t be tempted by vending machine candy, chips or ice cream. Possibilities include: fresh or dried fruit, pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, rice cakes, or whole-wheat crackers. • 4. Eat plenty of foods that are rich in calcium. If you don’t like milk, try to include ample amounts of low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and green leafy vegetables. • If you need to lose weight, do it sensibly. The only safe way to lose weight, feel good while doing it, and keep it off is to eat a balanced diet.
6. Sugar provides calories in your diet, but few other nutrients and it contributes significantly to tooth decay. Use it sparingly and consider sweetening coffee, tea, cereal and fruit with diet sweeteners instead. • 7. The cafeteria salad bar can be either an asset or detriment to your diet depending on how you choose from it. Leafy greens, raw vegetables, and fresh fruits are beneficial. But if you choose a lot of creamy dressing, bacon bits, and mayonnaise based salads (chicken salad, potato salad, etc) the calories and fat may equal or even exceed those of a burger and fries. • 8. If you drink alcohol, keep in mind that it supplies calories but no nutritional value. • 9. Drink lots of water. Your body needs at least 8 glasses a day, and if you exercise, you may need more. To remind yourself, carry a water bottle along to class and keep it handy during late night study sessions. • 10. Remember, food is a lot more than nourishment for our bodies. Enjoy and savor it.
Healthy Breakfast Tips • 1. Include at least 3 food groups; grains, fruit, vegetable, dairy and meat. • 2. Plan for breakfast. Have the right ingredients and breakfast foods on hand. • 3. Get up a few minutes earlier in the morning to ensure a good breakfast. • 4. Skip the drive-thru window, typical fast food breakfasts are high in fat, sodium with minimal fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Quick Start Breakfast Ideas • Toasted ham and cheese sandwich • Ready to eat cereal with banana • Oatmeal with raisins and skim milk • Smoothie • Pancakes/waffles topped with fresh fruit • PBJ on whole wheat toast • Breakfast burrito • Slice of leftover veggie pizza • Fruited low-fat yogurt with low fat breakfast bar • English muffin with Canadian bacon and egg • High fiber muffin with skim milk or juice • Cereal parfait (low-fat yogurt, fruit and whole grain cereal
Eat Smart!! • Eat only at a dining table, not in front of the TV • Find ways to reduce stress that don’t involve food. Exercise is the best way. • Follow the food guide pyramid to stock your refrigerator. • Keep a food diary and evaluate your choices against the Daily Food Guide Pyramid. • Don’t skip meals – if you do, you’re more than likely to fill the void with non-nutritious snacks. • Reward yourself, but not with food.
Smart Fast Food Choices • Regular size or lean hamburger or cheeseburger topped with lettuce, mustard and tomato • Regular size roast beef sandwich • Thin crust pizza with cheese and vegetables, 2 slices or personal pan pizza • Beef or chicken fajitas on soft tortillas • Beef or bean taco with lettuce and tomato only • Broiled or grilled chicken sandwich • Baked potato with vegetable toppings or low fat yogurt or low fat sour cream • Chili with crackers • Salad bar: non-cream soup, mixed green salads with low calorie dressing • Pasta bar: tomato sauce with pasta, dash of cheese • ½ sub sandwich with ham, turkey, or lean roast beef, mustard and raw vegetables.
Snacking Made Easy • Think out of the bag • Healthiest snacks do not require large amounts of refined or processed food which are often high in sodium and fat and low in fiber • Having the right stuff on hand is very important for making fast healthy snacks. • Some items you might want on hand include: • Low fat whole grain crackers, rice cakes, whole wheat pita bread, baked tortilla chips, fresh fruit, dried fruit, 100% fruit juice, non-fat light yogurt, fortified, soy milk or skim milk, raw vegetables, salad greens, potatoes, 100% vegetable juice, vegetable soup, nuts and nut butters, bean dip, bean soup, canned tuna or salmon, smoothies made with soy/skim milk.
Snack Ideas • Something Sweet: graham crackers with low fat chocolate milk, fresh fruit, smoothie, baked sweet potato, animal crackers low fat fruited yogurt, low fat pudding, frozen juice popsicle. • Something crunchy: peanut butter crackers, rice cakes, cut up veggies with low fat salad dressing, pretzels, breadsticks, or air popped popcorn, ready to eat cereal with skim milk. • Something else: vegetable or bean soups, roast beef sandwich with mustard instead of mayonnaise, low fat string cheese, turkey on whole wheat pita, baked potato topped with salsa and low fat sour cream
Habits of a Healthy Eater • Eat a variety of nutrient rich foods • Enjoy plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables • Maintain a healthy weight • Eat moderate portions • Eat regular meals • Reduce, don’t eliminate certain foods • Balance your food choices over time • Know your diet pitfalls • Make changes gradually • Remember, foods are not good or bad
Wellness Inventory – Healthy Eating Assessment • Do you eat breakfast almost every day? • Do you almost eat three or more meals a day? • Do you often have small snacks such as potato chips, candy, cookies, soft drinks, and so on between meals? • Do you often eat your evening meal after 7:00 p.m.? • Do you usually eat a light evening meal? • Do you eat white bread? • Do you often eat sugar coated cereal? • Do you eat a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, breads and dairy products daily? • When you eat meat, do you usually eat the lean cuts? • Do you usually use margarine rather than butter? • Do you usually add salt to your food?
Do you usually drink whole milk? • Do you often eat refined flour products (pasta, cake, cookies)? • Do you often eat refined sugar products (candy, sodas, etc.)? • Do you usually eat two or three servings of meat or protein rich foods a day? • Do you usually limit your intake of fat? • Does your diet contain more shellfish, red meat, and processed meat than poultry and fish? • Do you often eat foods seasoned by or cooked in pork or other meat fat? • Do you keep your calorie intake within your usual daily requirement? • Is your food usually broiled, baked or boiled rather than fried? • Do you eat most of your meals at home or elsewhere? • Do you eat roughage foods daily (fresh fruits, bran, raw vegetables)? • Do you drink six or more glasses of water per day?
Thank you for your participation in this workshop. We hope you found it helpful. Do not forget to complete an Academic Enrichment Summary. If you are viewing this workshop via the internet please come by the Student Support Services office to complete an Academic Enrichment Summary or you may click on the link in the directions box on the Workshops page and print one out or e-mail it to: email@example.com so that we may document your participation. Handouts available upon request. EXIT