You are in college now: studying, establishing your future and enjoying the best years of your youth. But do you pay attention to your health and what you eat and drink?
It’s so simple to neglect what you consume because there are so many things going on around you. You flew out of your parents’ nest, and now you can eat and drink whatever you want, whenever you want it. Eating healthy and exercising are the first things that slide toward the bottom of your list of necessities.
Amy Iannone, a senior nursing student at Florida Gulf Coast University, thinks she knows the reason why.
“Students are often for the first time independent and responsible for their own meals,” Iannone said. “They may not have the time and resources to cook healthy meals for themselves.”
Some college students may gain more weight, some may gain less, but that’s exactly what created the “Freshman 15” phenomenon.
FGCU registered dietitian and nutritionist Joan Faris has five simple tips for students.
“Some major contributors that I often see are skipping meals, eating for the wrong reasons, such as boredom, or social eating and snacking on processed foods, like chips or crackers, instead of choosing healthy snacks,” Faris said.
She also said that little physical activity also played an important role.
Despite the discouraging statistics, students are getting better year after year.
“Every year there appears to be more interest in nutrition and fitness, which may be due to an increased focus on these topics in the media,” Faris said. “This is encouraging, but there is also a lot of nutrition misinformation out there, sometimes resulting in students following an overly restricted diet or consuming toxic levels of supplements. It’s important for students to get their nutrition information from credible sources.”
It’s easy to pick things off the shelves that are more delicious and less nutritious, but there are options that are both delicious and nutritious. “Eat Real Food!” is the mantra Faris suggests.
“Whole foods provide a wide array of nutrients, and are more satisfying than processed food,” she said.
Choose grilled chicken and veggies over a burger and fries, and drink water over soda. Have a peach or an apple instead of a candy bar or a bag of chips.
Following these tips may sound tough at the beginning, but as you change certain habits step by step, day by day, it will become part of your daily routine and make you feel better inside out. Eventually, “Freshman 15” will be a thing of the past.