Health tips for college students
As summer transitions to fall, college students are returning to campus and finding themselves responsible for making their own decisions. One of those decisions would be related to healthy living. Eating and being physically active, when, where and how often they choose can sometimes lead to the dreaded “freshmen 15” and other unhealthy consequences. However, by following a few tips, students can stay on a healthy course throughout their college years.
- Active around campus- Instead of driving a vehicle, catching rides with friends to classes or using campus transportation, consider walking or biking around campus. Also, consider joining an intramural sports team or take an elective course that focuses on physical activity such as tennis or swimming.
- Make wise on-campus food choices-With an array of food options on campus, it’s easier than ever to find healthy and unhealthy choices. Whether eating in the dining hall or in on-campus fast food chains, ask to see the nutrition information for the food items they provide. Try to stick to the MyPlate guidelines by consuming only fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Also, consider drinking water with the meal and leaving desserts for special occasions.
- Late night snacking- After on-campus eateries close, it can be difficult for some college students to eat healthy while up late at night. Consider purchasing a mini-fridge to stock up on healthy options. Here are some considerations for healthy late night (or anytime) snacks.
|Sugary carbonated drinks and fruit drinks||Infused water (Create individual combinations using lemons, limes, strawberries, cucumbers, peaches, mint and ginger. Also experiment with other herbs, fruit and vegetable combinations)|
|Jerky||Low sodium mixed nuts|
|French Fries||Low sodium vegetable chips|
|Sugary cereal||Granola or whole wheat cereal|
|Desserts||Dried fruit and Fresh Fruit cup|
|Chips and dips||Wheat crackers and low-sodium salsa or humus|
|Delivery pizza||Homemade veggie pizza with low-fat cheese and a whole wheat crust|
|Ice cream||Low fat yogurt with fresh fruit|
Other tips to stay healthy on-campus include finding a health conscious accountability buddy, using cell phone apps to help track food intake and physical activity and getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Lastly, taking one day of a week to relax and eat some ice cream won’t cause weight gain, as long as, a regular routine is established. By following these healthy tips, students may avoid the weight gain associated with college and campus life.
Be choosy in dining halls. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet26BeChoosyintheDiningHall.pdf
Mini-fridge makeover. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet27MiniFridgeMakeover.pdf
Sparks, B. (2012). Informed eating can prevent ‘freshman 15.’ MSU Extension Center for Technology Outreach. http://msucares.com/news/print/fcenews/fce12/120713weight.html
Stay fit on campus. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet28StayFitonCampus.pdf
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