The bags are packed and the car is loaded. You are finally leaving home for college. The time consumed by going to class, meeting new friends, and socializing can be stressful frequently results in your diet taking a back seat. If you follow a few tips you can maintain a healthy diet despite your busy schedule.
Eating at your college cafeteria is a good choice if you have that option. It provides a selection of healthy options, if you choose wisely. If the school has a buffet style cafeteria try to chose one thing from each major food group. Try to limit your intake of processed foods, cheese, dressing, and greasy fatty food. Eating from the desert bar can be a great reward after a long day or hard test. Try not to eat desert everyday to help maintain a healthy diet.
The time that you schedule to eat during the day is also important. When you register for classes, look at the day with meals in mind. You should have enough time in the morning to get ready for the day and grab a quick breakfast, either in your dorm room or at the cafeteria. Make sure you take time for lunch sometime during the middle of the day. Try to have dinner before 7 p.m. to avoid late night eating. You should also take time to have a nutritious snack such as fruit and granola, during the day.
The weekends can be very challenging for college students because of the pressure to go to parties. The usual food and drink is pizza, chips and salsa, and beer. If you are planning to go out for the night and unsure if there will be healthy food choices available, grab a light meal before you leave and avoid greasy calories. The popular foods, among college students, such as pizza, buffalo wings or tacos, are fine once in awhile, but if they become a weekly event, your health may suffer.
Excessive consumption of alcohol is also a great way to ruin a diet. Beer and mixed drinks have a lot of empty calories, and so skipping them altogether is a great idea. If you must drink, choose diet sodas for mixing your drinks, red wine if it is available, or drink light beer. An occasional alcoholic beverage may be fine; however, drinking alcohol daily or even weekly will make you gain weight. The risk of liver disease, alcohol dependency and addiction should always be in the back of your mind.
Remember drinking alcohol and driving could cost you or someone else their life if you are involved in an accident. The legal ramifications could affect you the rest of your life. The risk of liver disease, alcohol dependency and addiction should always be in the back of your mind. If you are going to drink always have a designated driver, walk, or call a cab.
If you follow a few simple tips and use common sense you should be able to maintain a healthy diet, and enjoy your college years. Your health twenty years from now will be affected by the habits you develop during your few years obtaining your education.
Dr. Curtis E. McElroy is an internal medicine physician. He also has an interest in the research and writing of health and wellness, self improvement, and motivational articles.