Now that I’m back in the swing of things with balancing school, my workout routine and massive amounts of homework, I think I am finally ready to get my fitness series up-and-running! College is definitely an experience; you have to manage your own time, create your own sleep schedule, balance your life and maintain your health all while trying to better your education with extensive coursework – it’s absolutely chaotic! I know plenty of incoming freshman develop a strong fear of the dreaded “Freshman 15” and it’s totally within reason. Campus food tends to not be the best for you and while eating chicken nuggets every day for a month may sound great at the time, trust me, you’ll get sick of it real quick. Luckily, I have came up with some healthy tips and tricks to keep the hangry side of me at bay and keep my body moving towards where I want it to be!
At least one of you has probably been told by your parents that “everything is better in moderation”. Well, fun fact, they weren’t actually lying. If you live on campus, you’re most likely required to have a meal plan (a set amount of meals per week to be used at the dining locations on campus) and the on-campus dining may include places like Starbucks, Einstein Bro’s, Subway and many other places that offer a variety of food. However, just because you have 10 meals to spend at the Pizza Hut on campus doesn’t mean that you should. College is all about balance. Balancing your schedule, your social life and your meals are all very important things to learn early on. If you honestly look at the different options on campus you’d probably be surprised to see that you can find some healthier options which will balance out the amount of pizza and wings you consume over the course of the semester (and trust me, it’ll be a lot).
But, if you’re like me, you prefer to keep the fridge in your room stocked with items to snack on or that easily can be made into a quick meal. I prefer doing this because 1) I’ve been trying to avoid eating dairy products and 2) I know exactly what I’m putting into my body at any given time of the day. Because I work out daily, I consume more than my fair share of protein and being in control of my own diet lets me know exactly what I need to change in it to change the results I’m seeing from my workouts. Ever hear that seeing results comes from 20% physical exercise and 80% diet? Well, it’s true and while I’m not on any strict diet, I am “dieting” in the sense that I read labels very closely and watch what I eat very carefully. Here is a list of my favorite items that I absolutely, 100% always need in my fridge and that are high in protein and low in “the bad stuff”:
- Blueberries (rich in antioxidants!)
- Grapefruit (perfect for breakfast!)
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Celery (takes more calories to eat and digest than it puts in your body!)
- Dairy-Free Yogurt
- Breakfast Burritos (READ LABELS CLOSELY)
- Oatmeal (watch sugar but otherwise an awesome meal)
- Granola Bars (look for ones with less ingredients and less sugar)
- Kashi Go Lean Cereal with Almond Milk
- Cottage Cheese (one of the only dairy items I consume)
- Lunch Meat (watch sodium levels)
- Veggie/Black Bean Burger Patties
- Chik’n Patties
- Tuna (no mayo!)
- Protein Bars (my favorite are Quest Bars!)
- Protein Powder
LUNCH & DINNER:
- Whole Wheat Tortillas
- Light Soups
- Any kind of Fish
- Multi-grain English Muffins
- Salads w/ Chicken (in mason jars for extra cuteness)
- Roasted Almonds
- Nut Butters
- Crackers with Flax Seed
- String Cheese
- Hard-boiled Eggs
As you can see, this list is pretty extensive but it normally keeps me well-stocked for close to two weeks and it allows me to trace my diet exactly to see where I need to focus on changing things.
Eating clean in college is definitely a learning process. You have to learn what does and what doesn’t work for you and your body and then once you learn it, you have to keep up with the routine. Remember that a number on the scale does not define you in any way and that change is something you have to want to do for yourself, not for the attention of others. You are all so beautiful and you all have such beautiful minds and souls and inward beauty shines so much brighter than outward appearance. If you guys need any advice or have any requests, please please please ask me. I love talking to you guys and hearing your feedback and praises – it makes my days so much better!
Until next time, happy eating!