This blog is written by Yonas, our campus ambassador from Louisiana Tech.
An important goal for many college students is to live a healthy lifestyle and fight off any chance of gaining those extra pounds that find themselves creeping under your skin when you start to fall asleep on your eating habits and exercise routines. It is important to create a plan before you start your new health program. I have known a lot of students to start their plan by heading straight to the nearest supplement store. Whether you are trying to shed weight or tone up, this may not be the best idea. Speaking from experience as a sales rep from a GNC store, I would advise students to eliminate that option. The only fuel that should power your body through workouts and classes should be in a natural form that you could find in a grocery store at a fraction of the price and more effective.
A common myth among students that want to shed weight and start a diet program deals with fasting and skipping meals. Actually, not only are you doing harm to your body by not feeding it with the proper nutrients, you are slowing your metabolism down which slows the speed at which your body burns calories and fat. The best way to handle this goal of dieting is to eat many small meals throughout your day in addition to a workout program ranging from 3-5 days per week. This may sound easy to do when reading, but reality is that most of us are college students with crammed schedules, and some us live in university housing where storage space for food is limited as well as any means of cooking it. Also, let’s not forget those midnight runs to greasy fast food joints that we see our peers make to power those overnight studying sessions and the temptations that will arise from watching them. However, our diet programs can be accomplished with a little bit of planning and effort.
Breakfast is the most essential meal of the day, and one key part of starting the day off right is to take part in this meal. Naturally, I would recommend something along the lines of two egg whites, a slice of wheat toast, and a glass of orange juice to be implemented in everyone’s meal plan, but I understand the limited amount of time students have in between waking up and racing to class. Oatmeal, bananas, yogurt, or healthy cereals are great options if you don’t have time to cook a full meal. Also, granola bars or any healthy bars that contain oats or nuts and a good level of protein are a great option on the go as well.
Lunch is next on the agenda, and this meal can be just as simple to prepare as breakfast. Canned tuna is a great option because it is cost effective and takes very little time to prepare. It is a great source of protein that can provide for a healthy meal when spread across whole wheat bread. Nuts thrown into your tuna also bring in “healthy” fats that your body can consume. Adding fruit with your lunch is also vital because of the antioxidants that they provide for your body.
A question that many students active in fitness and weight lifting ask themselves many of times is related to what is the best liquid or solid food to consume post-workout. Companies that sell protein powders make a killing from their marketing efforts geared towards luring people that workout in gyms. However, another cost effective option that works just fine could possibly be in your food cabinet. Eating a banana is an excellent option after a tough workout. One simple banana contains the complex carbs fit to replenish your body after it has been depleted from the previous workout. My favorite post workout meal is a bowl of whole grain oats. Basically, any food item that contains complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, brown rice, or all bran cereals is key to fueling the body after a workout.
Dinner time is usually a better time to put in more effort in preparing a dish because our schedules have usually calmed down by this time, and we have a little extra time to whip out the pots and pans. Any type of grilled fish such as salmon or tilapia makes a great dinner choice because of the dosage of omega-3 fatty acids that they provide. Fish and grilled chicken are both recommended options because of the low amount of fat and high level of protein that they provide. Vegetables on the side are like icing on the cake because of the vitamins and nutrients that they bring to the table. Vegetables can be microwaved in some packages also which provide a time-saving option. After dinner, it is critical that you avoid eating heavy or unhealthy foods late night. They can lead to an increase in body fat and unwanted pounds. I strongly suggest that everyone drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and fight off any hunger cravings. I hope, by reading these options, students can come up with a draft into making their own diet plans.