Staying healthy at any point in the year requires some sort of effort and time, but the stress and change of pace when starting a new school semester makes it seem especially hard to keep up with healthy daily habits.
Most college students are often pressed for time, under a lot of stress and usually eating on the go. You may find it difficult to avoid bad habits like skipping meals or frequently visiting fast food restaurants. I was able to experience this issue first hand as a college student-athlete. For my four years in college I had to make sure I always had a healthy snack and drink on my backpack as I was always busy between classes, practices, tutors or rehab. Eating a healthy diet can help you feel better, cope with stress and perform better in the classroom and on the athletic field. It really isn’t that hard to get started and stay on track during the semester.
It doesn't have to be a struggle, here's a few tips you need to stay healthy and happy going into another semester:
1. Start the day off right.
Studies show that skipping breakfast detracts from scholastic achievement. When there isn’t time to sit down and enjoy your morning meal, grab a bagel, granola bar, piece of fruit and some juice. Most of these items can be easily stored in a residence hall room.
2. If you must eat fast foods, choose wisely.
Choose pizza with half the cheese, a regular size roast beef sandwich, baked potato or green salad with reduced calorie dressing. Limit high fat offerings like French fries, fried chicken or fish sandwiches.
3. Keep healthy snacks on hand.
Always. Smart snacks include fresh fruit (apple, pear, and bananas), Greek yogurt, baby carrots with hummus, roasted edamame, and of course a bottle of water. As a college student-athlete in Louisiana, the fall semester was not my favorite one to be walking around campus given Louisiana’s hot weather. I not only had a bottle of water but I also used to carry a Sports Drink bottle around, to make sure I always replenished my electrolytes in between classes while getting my body ready and prepared for my workouts in the afternoon.
4. Create and follow a meal plan.
Even if you can't prepare your food in advance, you can always plan out what you're eating and cooking for the week. It’s a simple tip but super helpful and makes a huge difference during the busy schedule of a student.
5. Limit your sugar intake.
It’s true that small amounts of natural sugar in a healthy active person’s diet won’t cause outrageous outcomes in terms of weight gain or health problems, but a little higher-than-usual intakes of sugar can cause unwanted unhealthy results in the body. Here are some tips to make small daily changes on your diet and decrease your sugar consumption.
6. Stay Active!
Incorporating sports and exercise into your daily routine is a great way to keep a healthy semester while also keeping your weight in check. If possible, join club teams, enjoy a walk or bike ride around campus whenever possible, and stay encouraged to move. Hope your school year gets off to a great start!
In case you are like me and like to practice sports or physical activities on a daily basis, there are electrolyte replacement products available that are low-sugar and low-calories. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink for example is a great way of replenishing your essential electrolytes after a workout but keeping the calorie count low and consuming only 5g of natural sugars per bottle. You could use the code PM10 for a special 10% discount on their website, and I also recommend you to subscribe to their newsletter because they are always releasing special codes for even higher discounts on their products.