The College Student Guide to Nutrition: Do’s and Don’ts

College students have a reputation for having poor dietary habits, which have negative long-term effects. Most are either consuming more take-outs which include fatty foods low in fruits and vegetables or skipping meals. However, it’s never too late to make healthy food choices. It will take time before consuming nutritious meals becomes a daily habit. But your body will thank you for it by keeping diseases at bay.

Do Follow the Food Pyramid

One of the reasons that cause students to have poor eating habits is a lack of ample knowledge on what constitutes a healthy diet. So which other factors contribute to poor eating choices for students?

  • Lack of ample time needed to prepare nutritious meals;
  • Inaccessibility of healthy foods;
  • Poor time management that results in skipping meals.

Skipping meals and eating junk foods means the body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to perform at optimum levels. Malnutrition leads to several health problems like obesity, anorexia, and other chronic diseases. It also negatively impacts productivity, concentration, and retention of information, resulting in poor academic performance.

If you are a student who wants to improve their knowledge on healthy eating, use the food pyramid, which simplifies which food groups should never miss in a daily meal together with the recommended quantity.

Don’t Forget to Treat Yourself

Part of having a healthy relationship with food is treating ourselves once in a while. However, many diets restrict the food that an individual enjoys. This often means we are too focused on what we eat and less about enjoying it. Even when treating yourself, remember not to overindulge and consider the frequency as well as quantity.

Do See a Nutritionist

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The concept of asking for help from an expert doesn’t just apply in academics. Students who want to be sure that they are eating healthy will benefit by seeing a nutritionist. This is because there is so much misinformation and diet advice online, which can be misleading or confusing.  Students can work with a nutritionist to gain nutrition education and come up with a meal plan that best fits their dietary needs and lifestyle. With a dietician’s help, you will reach your health goals without negatively affecting your overall well-being.

Don’t Eat in a Rush

Health experts recommend chewing food slowly because it results in several health problems like indigestion, reflux, and an increase in insulin resistance as well as obesity. However, most students live a fast-paced lifestyle which creates a habit of eating in a hurry. Ye breaking the habit will take extra conscious efforts, but the alternative is choking abdominal pain and other health problems.

Don’t Ignore Your Dietary Needs

Students have diverse dietary needs. Some are vegetarians; others prefer organic foods. In college, students have different types of food allergies, intolerance, and religious dietary restrictions. Besides, nutrition needs will change depending on age, gender, activity, health, and life stages.

Whatever your dietary needs are, the school dining halls might not fulfill all of them. In such cases, a student should make time and prepare their meals. This not only puts you in control over which ingredients you put inside your body but also controls the quantity while ensuring your dietary needs are met.

Students who study in a school offering a range of healthy meal choices must know how to navigate the options. When serving, keep basic nutrition in mind and fill your plate with more fruits and vegetables. Ensure your plate is colorful; that way, you can be sure you have incorporated different vitamins and nutrients. Additionally, go for fresh uncooked vegetables as they impart more nutrients in a smaller portion than the cooked types.

Do Keep Nutritious Foods at Eye-Level

Most students fall into bad eating habits because junk food is easily accessible. Microwavable meals, sugary drinks, and leftover pizza take up a big portion of the fridge. When they are kept in sight, it becomes easier to consume them because they act as temptations. So if the first thing you see when you open a drawer, fridge, or school bag is unhealthy snacks, you are more likely to have unhealthy eating habits. Instead, keep healthy foods at eye level at the front and center while the sweet snacks should be stored in bottom drawers.

Go ahead and use these tips when planning your diet! It might appear not that important now, but in the future, you will thank yourself!

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