|The gift basket|
I know, I know. It’s late. You have the munchies.
They’re convenient, they’re tasty, they’re cheap, and they’re not as bad for you as a late night Taco Bell or Greasy Pizza run, but still, these foods that you probably have in your dorm room right now are some of the main causes of the dreaded Freshman 15.
I’m not saying you have to give up late night snacks and should eat nothing but fruit and nuts in between meals (but if you’re trying to shave off that Freshman 15, you should). All I’m saying is that these often deceptive foods are unhealthy and even dangerous, with weird side effects besides high calorie or fat content that you might not have even heard of.
These are low on the list because unless you’re a heavy duty athlete or have an unnaturally high metabolism, you probably already know to avoid this snack. However, I understand the craving for salt that will inevitably hit you at one point or the other. The best way to deal with this situation is to not keep chips in your room. That’s the theme of this article. Choosing what to buy and what not to keep around is half the battle. If you decide to go to the basement or student union and buy chips, you’ll probably be confronted with other healthier choices, like roasted almonds, that should satisfy that craving without all that oil.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “These are the perfect healthy alternative to chips, and the ones with peanut butter in the middle have protein too!” Just take this into consideration: they are highly processed and made with white flour and artificial sweeteners. Not to mention the glycemic index (sugar content) is higher than chips’, meaning you’re going to experience more of a crash later on, making this less than ideal as a mid-study session snack.
8. Energy Bars
The box or wrapper screams at you that it’s full of protein and is great as a meal replacement, but keeping this around in your room will tempt you to snack on one of these bars, rather than using it as a quick grab-and-go breakfast or a post-workout snack. Which brings me to my next point: if you’re not working out intensely, you do not need energy bars to get your daily recommended dose of protein. Just fill up on chicken, nuts, and spinach. And even if you are working out at intense levels, a protein shake made with fruits is easier to digest and process by your body, decreasing its chances of turning into fat.
7. Lucky Charms
Here’s another one of those suggestions that might sound like I’m not giving college students enough credit for being able to make healthy eating choices, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to rationalize buying sugary cereal for your room. Lucky Charms are the worst, but really most cereals are the last thing you want to start—or end—your day with. They’re full of high fructose corn syrup, processed wheat, and virtually no one eats the recommended serving size. If you really want to fill up on fiber, go to the caf and eat some oat meal or eggs. I promise it will be a much more worthwhile way to start your day.
6. Cans of Soup
Sure they’re convenient and tasty and warm in the winter and tomatoes are good for you right? Actually, the sodium content in most of these instant soup cans is ridiculous, and studies are showing that the material used to coat the inside of the can are dangerous too your health. If you want something warm, grab some hot tea, and if you really really want soup, your cafeteria probably has some better options that were at least homemade.
5. Whole Milk
If you have this in your fridge, I strongly suggest phasing it out with 2% then 1% then fat free. Switching to fat free milk does wonders for your waistline and the nutrition teacher at my school even goes so far as to claim that most people should stop drinking whole milk by the time they’re six years old. It’s that bad for you apparently.
|The secret stash|
4. Easy Mac
Pasta is generally a good thing to stay away from, and if you think bright orange cheese isn’t a terrifying thing to put into your body, you need to look at your life, look at your choices. Usually, Easy Mac isn’t satisfying as a meal by itself, rendering it a virtually useless food in terms of nutrition. Of course it’s a nice nostalgic snack to have occasionally, but since it’s also only sold in bulk, getting it for your room is a bad idea.
3. Microwave Popcorn
I recently just learned exactly how bad instant microwave popcorn really is for you. Next time (and hopefully the last time) you make a batch for yourself, feel the inside of that bag. Feel all that greasy stuff? It’s not only super oily and fatty and disgusting, but it’s also made of a weird chemical compound that does a number on your immune system, of all things. If you can’t watch movies without this delicious treat, or want to use it to smell up your room and lure in potential new friends, you can still microwave popcorn in your own brown paper bag or invest in a fancy air popper. Without the microwave bag, this is a pretty healthy snack as far as dorm food goes.
2. Red Bull
How can you think this is a good idea? First of all, drinking it with alcohol is nothing but bad news, and can cause serious heart problems if you drink too much (they outlawed caffeine in Four Lokos for a reason). Second of all, don’t you find it odd that a drink can give you energy without being full of energy (aka calories)? I do. In addition, most of the energy in Red Bull and other energy drinks come from sugar or sugar substitutes. Again, if you really need that extra kick, stick with coffee or tea, or even work out (it actually is a very energizing endeavor if you can drag yourself onto that elliptical for long enough). Your body will thank you. And drumroll…
1. Diet Coke
I cannot stress how terrifyingly bad for you sodas are. Even diet drinks lead to weight gain if consumed over long periods of time, and carbonated drinks just lead to a bloated feeling and dehydration, which is bad for your skin and all-around feeling. Weird side effects are associated with diet drinks, like weight gain around weird places, like your liver, and there’s even a case where a guy who drank Diet Coke every day for years had to have his rectum removed. Yeah. Basically, just stick to water. It’ll make the biggest difference.
I know I’m not a nutrition or fitness expert, but I’ve done a lot of research on this subject, not to mention I know what works and feels good for me.
I highly recommend checking out reputable sites like Rodale or Women’s Health, just to do some research and learn more about the things you’re casually putting into your body.
Looking good for Spring Break will hardly take any effort if you make a few of the right choices.
For more honest insight, check out this post:
5 Common Alcohol Myths Explained