10 Ways to Beat Unhealthy College Life

14 February 2012

Fresh fruit always available, healthy, steamed vegetables, perfectly medium cooked filet mignon and crab legs. Yeah, I was living the life.

You could only imagine how abrupt and unwelcoming the transition from home cooked meals to unlimited fast food buffet style was. I’ve never seen so many deep fried vegetables – corn, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, jalapeños.

Unless you are lucky enough to have a roommate or friend enrolled in culinary programs at your school who can cook for you on a regular basis, your food options at college are going to be quite limited. It’s pretty difficult to eat healthy in our dining hall if you don’t want to eat brown rice and broccoli everyday; Hasbrouck is big on the burgers, fries and pizza. But if you think before you eat and plan ahead, staying healthy and fit will come to you.

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it.


First things first: All of us have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it gets our metabolism going, blah blah blah. But what exactly should we be eating?

Keep an eye on those baked goods

1. Skip the bagels, pancakes, waffles, and anything else doughy, battery and full of nothing. You can treat yourself to one every once in a while but don’t exactly make it a habit. On top of the lack of nutrition, you’re just going to load them up with butter and syrup and wobble to class bloated.

2. Definitely incorporate protein into your breakfast. My favorite things to pick out from the dining hall are hard boiled eggs, lowfat blueberry yogurt (with a little granola), a few crackers and hot tea.

Or make yourself turkey, eggs, and lettuce on whole wheat bread. Call me crazy because that’s what I called my dad when he ordered that at a deli, but it was probably the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever had.

In The Dining Hall

Limited buffets are basically a sin. There’s no good that comes out of them, but with proper technique you can learn how to work them.

3. Grab one plate (yes that’s right, only ONE) and think hard about what you choose to fill it with. Block out all of the deep fried foods and foods soaked in sauces and make sure to include some kind of meat and vegetables.

Ask the cooks to make your burgers without cheese and replace the buns with whole wheat bread. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific things, they’ll probably make some accommodations.

4. So after you finish that one plate of food, make your exit. You do not need to feel bloated after your meal, just satisfied. Maybe grab a piece of fruit to top the meal off.

Late Nights Out

This one is the worst. I’m still trying to take my own advice. But hopefully you guys have more self-control than I. You consume so many more calories than you realize on a night out.

Between the beers, juice added to the mixed drinks, and drunken munchies, you can easily double the amount of calories you’ve had in a day.

5. So if you’re drinking (and of age, of course), pick up some light beer if that’s you’re choice of beverage. If you prefer hard liquor, be careful what you’re mixing it with.

Many drinks are made very sugary, and after you down a couple you might lose track of how much you had. It’s unrealistic to tell you to drink less; just try diet sodas and Sugar Free Red Bull.

6. Think twice before making those late night pizza runs. I end up sitting in Fat Bob’s with a slice of Chicken Parm pizza in front of my face out of impulse. I trust you guys to have more willpower that I do so eat before you go out and make sure your friends won’t give in to your sad cries because you want a slice. Eat only when you are genuinely, stomach-growling hungry.

Desserts And Snacks

7. The one thing I genuinely enjoy in my dining hall is the bakery section. I got into the habit of getting dessert after every lunch and dinner. Gross. Refrain from that and look at dessert as a treat only a few times a week. Fruit is a better replacement. Apple and peanut butter is my favorite. Seriously, try it. Just don’t overdo it on the peanut butter.

8. Choose wisely which snacks you choose to keep around your room. Yogurt, nuts (almonds are my favorite!) and hummus and pita are great to keep around. But whatever you eat, portion is out in a bowl or plate so you’re not tempted to devour it all.

Physical Activity

9. Go to the gym. Don’t give up. I guarantee you’ll feel better when you know you can accomplish a hard work out. And if you go enough, you’ll actually start to enjoy it. Don’t believe me? Work out for a couple weeks and then tell me how you feel.

10. If you’re not that good at sports, join an intramurals team. You can either join with friends or make them in the process and any level is accepted. Play sports out on the quad. Get up off your little booty and move those legs to get to the pizza shop instead of calling for delivery.

Just be aware of what food you pick up in between classes and on the go.

Pack snacks ahead of time.

Go grocery shopping and make your own food so you know what you’re consuming. It’s really easy to slip on food and get lazy but it’s going to pay off.

For more honest insight, check out these posts:
Finding Munch Time in the Crunch Time
Dorm Culture: When Creative Laziness Evolves

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