There are many significant changes that come with students going off to college for the first time. In addition to academic rigors, students have to deal with the fact that they'll be living by themselves for the first time, which means they'll have certain freedom of choices that they've never had before, Atlanta personal trainer David Reagan says.
While this freedom helps students learn to make positive choices, there are many pitfalls to it as well. One of the most common ways that this freedom can have a negative effect is on nutrition.
It's easy to reach for another slice of pizza rather than prepare a healthy meal, especially when balancing schoolwork with other responsibilities. However, eating healthy is an essential part of college.
Below are some tips and tricks to help students make nutritious choices throughout their academic journey.
Always Eat Breakfast
The saying is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While that's hard to quantify precisely, there is no doubt that starting your day off with a healthy meal is essential.
Your body and your brain need healthy food to function properly. When you have a healthy breakfast full of protein, you'll be better prepared for the day ahead.
Even if you're running late for class, grab a healthy breakfast snack to take with you, such as a breakfast bar or even a piece of fruit.
Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating involves taking the time to think about the food that you're putting into your body. It requires patience, thought, and deliberate actions.
One of the best places students can practice this is in the dining hall. So many options are in front of you, and many could be healthier.
Be cautious as you look around the dining hall, avoiding foods high in fat and opting for well-balanced meals with proteins, whole grains, and healthy carbohydrates.
Mindful eating can be especially difficult if you go to the dining hall with friends. But don't concern yourself with what everyone else is eating. When you make healthy eating choices consistently, you'll find that it's OK to "cheat" now and again.
Plan Your Meals
No matter how old you are and what stage of life you're in, it's easier to make bad eating choices when you don't have a plan. Personal trainer David Reagan says that's why planning your meals is so important.
For college students, this starts with simply planning out when you will eat. Plan to set your alarm to get up early enough to have breakfast before your first class. Then, integrate a full lunch break into your schedule, and set aside time for a proper dinner as well.
Once you've set aside the time to eat, planning healthy meals will become easier. This doesn't have to be complicated, either. It can be as easy as choosing what you want to eat at the dining hall before you actually go there or defrosting some frozen vegetables to cook with pasta at your apartment that night.
Planning is a crucial way college students can ensure they're making healthy and nutritious decisions -- practices they can take with them for the rest of their lives.
About David Reagan
Meet David Reagan: An Atlanta-based NASM Certified personal trainer. With expertise in weight loss, customized workouts, bodybuilding, and nutrition, he serves elite clients and executives. David prioritizes client needs, crafting fitness plans that align with busy schedules and guiding you toward triumphant fitness journeys.