Student life is hectic. Modern-day students have a lot on their hands, from jam-packed lecture programs to demanding extra-curricular activities.
If you’re starting college in the near future, it’s a good idea to think about your eating and nutrition habits. Food is your fuel. And a health-promoting diet will ensure that you’re able to keep chugging along in spite of your busy schedule. You’ll have more energy, be more focused and just feel better overall.
In this post, we’re going to look at seven science-backed tips that will guarantee optimum health. They’re straightforward, cost-effective and very easy to implement.
1. Nail Your Macronutrient Ratio
Remember those colourful, segmented plates that they taught you about in school? Well, now might be a good time to re-familiarize yourself with them.
“Meal plates” act as a guide for putting together a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, along with all of the essential macronutrients. Macronutrients are chemical elements or substances, such as protein or potassium, that are essential in relatively large amounts to the growth and health of a living organism like us. Having a template means you don’t have to worry about your meals not being nutritionally balanced.
A good rule of thumb is that about half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with high-protein foods like fish or tofu, and a quarter with carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, pasta, etc.
2. Fill Your Plate With G-Bombs
Micronutrients are chemical elements or substances, such as calcium or vitamin C, that are essential in small amounts to the growth and health of a living organism like us. “G-Bombs” is an acronym that was created by nutritionist Dr. Joel Fuhrman to make it easy to remember food sources for essential micronutrients. It stands for greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds.
The idea isto try to get as many of these health-promoting foods into your diet as possible. They are scientifically proven to provide an array of benefits, including lower susceptibility to chronic diseases like cancer, and are bursting with vitamins and other micronutrients. What’s more, eating large quantities of “G-Bombs” will ensure that you feel energized and alert throughout the day.
3. Drink Lots of Water
If you think that water is boring, think again. H2O is a miracle liquid. And staying hydrated through the day provides myriad benefits, including improved mood and memory, fewer cravings, headaches and migraines, less constipation, reduced risk of kidney stones and bladder infections, lower anxiety levels and more. Water can also help with hangovers,so if you find yourself a little worse for wear, reach for the water.
So, how much water should you be drinking? The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine stipulates that adequate daily intake is 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women. But that includes water from all food and beverages. For liquid water intake, many health authorities recommend drinking between six and eight glasses per day (or around 1.2 to 1.9 litres).
4. Supplement Wisely
The positive effects of many supplements are backed by strong research, yet the supplements industry is known for making exaggerated claims. It’s important to consider the science when choosing which to take and to resist being drawn into fads. As supplements offer helpful additional support to your healthy lifestyle, particularly to resist illness in colder months and to boost your brain functionality before a period of exams, it is worth doing your homework. In particular, medical experts recommend taking vitamin D, probiotics and magnesium. There is also some evidence that zinc can help shorten the duration of the common cold. Fortunately, these supplements tend to be inexpensive, especially when compared to the latest fad products.
Always remember that supplements are not meant to act as a substitute for food and should be seen as a top-up for an already healthy diet.
5. Download an App
If you want to take the hassle out of managing your dietary choices, consider taking advantage of a nutrition app. The best apps can help you with pretty much every aspect of your diet. You can use them to find healthy recipes, count calories, check the nutritional content of your meals and more.
There are dozens of apps available and most have free plans and a diverse range of features, so you will be able to find one that works for you. And when you do come across one that you like, the paid version will probably only set you back a few dollars.
6. Go for Healthy Snacks That Won’t Perish
There’s no use trying to resist snacking entirly, particularly during the busier times of student life such as exam periods. Instead, you should opt for healthier, natural alternatives. And if you pick the right snacks, you won’t have to worry about them going bad in your dorm room. Mixed nuts, dried fruits, dark chocolate, raw cereal bars and vegetable crisps (preferably baked) are all fantastic options. It’s a good idea to stock up so you can dip into your reserves whenever you need a little pick-me-up.
7. Eat a Large Salad Every Day
Want a fast, easy hack that will instantly make your diet healthier? Eat a salad every day.
There are many benefits to supplementing your meals with a daily salad, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improved muscle repair and better overall digestion. You’ll also find that you have higher energy levels and experience less stress. Eating a salad daily can even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Keep in mind, however, that salads aren’t enough on their own. Salads are best when your diet already includes a variety of healthy foods.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Overthink Your Dietary Choices
With all the conflicting advice circulating nowadays, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when changing your dietary habits. Remember that you don’t need to become a nutritional expert to stay healthy. By focusing on a handful of key principles, you’ll get the most out of your student years while enjoying some great food in the process.