Demanding schedules and lack of access to certain foods are the biggest barriers to a healthy lifestyle for students. If you’re ready to start making changes, be sure you are prepared with the facts. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Plan to have three meals each day. Knowing what you will be eating will help prevent grabbing something less healthy at the last minute.
- Do not skip meals. Eating less may seem like a good strategy to lose weight, but it does not work. Your body requires a certain amount of nutrients and energy and skipping meals will lessen your chances of getting them. It has also been shown that individuals who consume one large meal, or take in most of their calories in the evening have more difficulty managing their weight.
- Do not be afraid to enjoy healthy snacks. Not only can snacks provide you nutrients and energy, they also are important in curbing that ravenous hunger you may have before meal time. Store healthy snacks in your bag or car.
- Location, Location, Location. Chose one place to consume your foods. Eating while studying, working, watching TV, or using the computer tends to drive us to eat larger portions and choose less nutritious and higher calorie foods.
- Know when you have had enough to eat. The sensation of feeling “full” is delayed, and we often overeat by the time we get the signal from our brain to stop. To prevent this, slow down your eating.
- Balance your meals with appropriate portions. One simple method to achieve this is to have ½ your plate vegetables, ¼ your plate grains, ¼ your plate lean protein.
- Start your meal off with nutrient dense, low calorie foods. Examples are a piece of fruit, vegetables, and salads with salad dressings on the side. Then move on to your main course or side dishes.
- Whenever possible choose fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, and whole grains. Choosing these higher fiber foods may be beneficial in regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and controlling appetite.
- Avoid drinking calories. With the exception of milk, calories from beverages are not needed. Avoid regular sodas, specialty coffees, smoothies, juices, sports drinks, and “energy” drinks. Good alternatives are diet sodas, unsweetened beverages, or lower calorie sports drinks.
- If you chose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. A typical alcoholic beverage can be very dense in calories. To burn off the calories in one 12-ounce can of a standard light beer, a 150-pound person would have to bike 10 miles per hour for 25 minutes.
The Nutrition Therapy department at the Wilce Student Health Center is here to help. If you are not seeing your desired weight-loss results; if you are frustrated or confused about healthy food choices; or if you feel you don’t know the correct portion sizes for food servings, make an appointment to see one of our Registered Dieticians.
Greg Avellana RD, LD, CDE (OSU SHS)