Balance is key for healthy eating in college

By Michal Dwojak, Managing editor for reporting

Healthy eating while going to college might seem like a contradiction.

There are many nights spent returning from the library or your favorite water hole where eating food that’s good for you is the last thing on your mind.

But there are countless benefits to eating healthy where it’s worth the extra effort, like providing your brain what it needs to do well on that test or to look fit to attract that significant other who you spent texting instead of studying.

Many time college students make misguided decisions. Either they think that because they are young, they can eat whatever they want without facing any consequences, or they cut out entire food groups to lose weight quickly. Both of these diets are not sustainable.

The key to eating healthy is moderation: you can eat your favorite foods, as long as you balance them with healthy options. By doing this, you get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, but you don’t feel like you are consisting on a diet of iceberg lettuce and protein shakes.

Whether you live in a dorm, your fraternity or sorority house or an apartment, there are different ways where you can make sure to eat healthy and take in its benefits.

To my meal plan friends

For those who are going to be living where there is a meal plan and you can eat all that you want, repeat after me: moderation is key.

Yes, you can eat all the cheeseburgers, pizza and ice cream you want, but this is going to be an important lesson for those who are starting college: you make your own decisions for yourself now. Your parents aren’t going to be here to point out what you should and shouldn’t eat, so let me be the one to take that honor.

Be smart.

Yes, you can enjoy a slice and eat a cheeseburger from time to time, but don’t forget about your vegetables, eat a salad from time to time. Get in the right proteins and carbohydrates your body needs. Grab an apple, banana or orange on your way out for a nice snack to eat for later.

You can enjoy the great food that you have paid for, but remember to get in the healthy food you need (and maybe we limit it to one round extras at most, OK?)

To my apartment friends

You’re going to get the same lesson that I just gave the meal plan group.

I’m sure that many of you, like me, are on a budget when it comes to our grocery shopping. You also don’t always want to or don’t always have the time to make a healthy meal, but it’s not always that hard.

The first key to is to buy fruit. Whether you like apples, bananas or oranges, make sure to buy a bulk for the week so you have a snack to grab with you when you go to class or somewhere else. Vegetables aren’t that difficult either. You can grab a couple of bags of your favorite vegetables from the frozen section of the store. They’re very easy to make, just put in the microwave and you have fresh tasting vegetables.

Learn to make a few healthy meals really well, so on nights that you don’t feel like cooking something extravagant, you have a backup plan that isn’t ordering a pizza.

There are other things that you can do like buying yogurt and almonds, both make for a great and healthy snack, but limiting yourself to two frozen pizzas a week is a good way to stay healthy too.

Just eat in moderation, and you should be fine.

Michal is a Senior in Media.
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