November 23, 2013

College can be one of the hardest times to stay on a healthy diet, however it may be one of the most important. College is a fish bowl of health risks, including stress that can strain a health lifestyle, over indulgence of alcohol, and the sheer fact of living in a dorm and sharing a bathroom with upwards of 40 other people is daunting for your immune system. Being overly stressed is linked to a bad immune system, and weight gain. Of course, college and stress adds to lack of sleep and it is proven to lead to weight gain as well.

Some of us may not be as lucky to be student-athletes like me. When you run about 30 miles a week with a team, keeping the "freshman fifteen" is easier to keep off. However, whether your doing an organized sport or not it's important to stay active. Whether your active or not, however, eating key ingredients in each meal while you're living in  fish bowl of stress and germs will help you feel less, well, germ-y. Hopefully these tips help!

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PS - That's the dining and residence halls at my school! weee!

If you ask most college students, depending on the college, they will give you very unflattering descriptions of the food that their dining halls serve. The food service at my school is "Chartwells," and students here have many creative, unflattering nicknames for the company. Students can go on forever about how to food is not fresh, undercooked, and there's no variety. However, this just required you to go outside of the box!

When I enter the hall, I usually survey the food of the day. I try to stick to pasta only once a week, because usually only white (not whole wheat) pasta is used because it's the easiest and cheapest to make. If the pizza or pasta has vegetables on it, like veggie lasagna or spinach-stuffed pasta of some sort, I'll go with that and some salad. However if there is nothing to my taste I have my go-to. Always have a go to. Usually, the grill that serves us hot dogs and burgers will have other options. I always ask for turkey burgers or grilled chicken. One of my favorite things to do is ask for two pieces of grilled chicken, make a salad at the salad bar and put the grilled chicken on top! Or, have grilled chicken and vegetables if there are any sauteed vegetables.
I have to say my all-time favorite go to is wraps! Here, we have wheat, white, sun-dried tomato or spinach wraps available. I choose any that's not white. In my wrap I like to put any type lean protein, be it hummus, tuna, turkey, or chicken and tons of vegetables. I love to put honey mustard on mine. I like to have these with either a salad, soup, grilled veggies, or if they have them, sweet potato fries! Yum!

As for drinks and desserts, I like to stick to getting desert once a week. One day they had apple crisp and I couldn't help myself. I usually like to stick with water or chocolate soy milk for a drink. one thing to remember when you survey the buffet at the dining hall - keep your meal balanced! Try to incorporate some sort of lean protein, vegetables and whole grain if you can. Think of your plate as an artist's palette.  

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I feel like I always have a black hole in my stomach. Maybe it's from being a runner, or just a college student in general. So, when it comes to snacks I always want to buy in bulk. My favorite part of Hannaford's or any grocery store is the dry food section! If you've missed it before, it's the section that looks like a candy store, but instead of flowing candy from the machines, it's granola, nuts, and dried fruit that flows from the machine. I just take my pick from the array, fill it up in a bag and check it out. So when it comes to snacks, try to stay within 100-200 calories. My favorite snacks are nuts, fruits, pita chips and hummus, or Special K chips. Any of those can be 3$ or under, however nuts can be expensive. That's why it's best to buy in bulk!

As I mentioned before, living in a dorm is like living in a fishbowl of sickness. One great way to combat this, paired with enough rest, is adding these key ingredients to your diet.
1. BLUEBERRIES! Blueberries are very rich in antioxidants and vitamins, which combat illnesses very well. I love the naked "blue machine" smoothie. it contains 100% vitamin A and E. The "O-J" juice contains 5 whole oranges and 100% vitamin C.* Raspberries are just as good!
2. Vitamin C - The best way to get your vitamins is eat your colorful fruits. However you definitely need an increased intake of vitamin C. This is where a supplement would increase. I take a multivitamin gummy, however you could take a vitamin C supplement.
3. Coconuts and coconut oil. Not only is it yummy but it helps your immunity. Who knew?
4. Green Tea and Matcha Green tea is helpful for the same reason as blueberries, they antioxidants. There is a multitude of health benefits to green tea, including that it aids in weight loss and defying aging, however the antioxidant content helps you avoid a stuffy and runny nose. Matcha is a new food trend, I've noticed it on my queen Cassey Ho (Blogilates on YouTube)'s channel. Matcha is milled green tea powder. You can use it like you would whey protein, put it in smoothie and such. Matcha is used nowadays to flavor mochi and soba noodles, which are both deeeelicious! It contains the antioxidant EGCG which boosts the metabolism, that's why everyone is going matcha crazy.

I hope you all learned how to eat a bit healthier in college. I know it's hard to eat fresh, trust me. Food goes bad way too quickly in my dorm and I'm not allowed to have my car here, so I can't easily drive to the closest supermarket. However make do, just like in all situations!

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