Hello friends! it’s me, Kendall. You may remember me as the peanut-butter-eating-boy-band-loving college intern who stepped in for What I Ate Wednesday last week. I’m writing to all of you beauties today to talk about being healthy in college. Often a folklore talked about by girlfriends over freshly delivered pizza and a Netflix binge, I am here to tell you that living a healthy life in college is a thing and we can do it. Quick—Rosie the Riveter flex!
Let’s be real for a second. College is hard. College is HARD. Now If you’re one of the lucky few who think otherwise, please send me your mailing addresses because I have a couple of books and assignments that I would love to ship you. Just kidding! I would never willingly inflict pain on any of you lil’ chickpeas. But with classes, meetings, clubs, homework, study sessions, jobs, etc., it isn’t hard to see how health can fall to the way-wayside in our crazy lives.
I am an avid believer that a healthier body helps keep a healthy mind and energy about me. When my body feels good, I feel unstoppable. Like an Olivia Pope/Taylor Swift/Beyonce kind of unstoppable. Extra mile on the treadmill? Bring it on! Stats homework? No problem (okay, maybe there’s always a little bit a problem with that one).
While these tips are especially tailored towards college living, anyone can use them at any point in life! Following these few guidelines every day and making a few changes can completely recharge your body.
1. Wake Up + Water Yourself
First thing every morning, I begin my day with a warm cup of water/green tea with lemon. Doing this before eating breakfast will help to cleanse your digestive system for the day ahead of yummy eats as well as kick-start your metabolism.
2. Eat Breakfast
This isn’t a “when I have time” thing. Breakfast is an every day thing! Eating a protein-packed breakfast will keep you full and focused until lunch, boost your metabolism, and help you make healthier eating choices throughout your busy day. During the weekdays before my classes, I quickly whip up oatmeal, a fried egg, or an easy smoothie in my dorm! I just woke up 5 min. early to run down to my dorm kitchen and whip up this fried egg, and smashed avo on a brown rice cake.
3. Carry Water With You
This is the easiest and one the healthiest things you can do for your body: HYDRATE! Drinking water throughout the whole day keeps your digestive organs functioning at top-speed, hydrates your skin, cleanses your body, and has been shown to help you stay alert and focused. Hellooo, 8 a.m.’s!
4. Coffee in Moderation
Coffee and college were basically made for each other. Unfortunately, drinking multiple cups a day can have a harmful effect on your body, include an overly acidic stomach, caffeine-dependence, high blood-pressure, and dehydration. And unless you take your coffee black, add-ins like sweeteners and creamers can be sneakily unhealthy. Try limiting yourself to one cup a day, or a few cups of green or black tea as a healthy caffeine alternative. I’ve limited myself to one almond milk hazelnut latte a week on Wednesdays, except for finals week. I buy a latte to take into all of my final exams for that extra boost (then ya know I can use the cup to collect my tears as well). Lolz.
5. Be Picky
We’ve all experienced those dreaded meal plans! While at your dining hall, be picky with your choices. There are so many ways to eat healthy if you take the extra time. Avoid the grilled cheese and pizza stations and load your tray with fruit, vegetables, a lean protein, and leafy greens instead.
Another basic rule to follow is if you can’t see all of the ingredients in it, don’t get it. This goes for things like soup, chilis, and smoothies that often have a lot of sodium, heavy creams, or sweeteners added to them. This is all evidenced by a few pics I took of my meals in the dining halls this week!
6. Stock Your [Micro] Fridge
Having healthy options in your room for times when going out isn’t doable/practical is crazy helpful! I keep bags of frozen veggies, frozen fruit, hummus, olive oil, minced garlic, microwaveable brown rice, gluten-free pasta, almond milk, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados, canned tuna, and peanut butter in my room at all times. With these basic and low-cost items, I can make smoothies, rice/pasta and veggies, and a bunch of other deeelish combos all in my room with just my microwave and blender. Dreamy!
Our bodies are meant to move and be strong! There are so many benefits of exercising that if I started listing them, this post would turn into one of those long scholarly articles that professors like to torture us with. Exercising in college is probably the most accessible it will ever be in our lives. We have unlimited access to our campus gym, free exercise classes, and a bunch of pals who will no doubt be happy to have a workout buddy. So get up and hit the gym, shake yo’ booty in Zumba, walk on nearby trails, or go for a jog around campus!
8. Snack Hard, Snack Often
Get over that afternoon slump with a snack! Snack right with yummy options like hummus and veggies, a handful of fruit or veggies dipped in PB, or plain greek yogurt topped with fruit. If I’m on the go I’ll grab a KIND bar or a big, crispy apple to eat in classes or meetings. Sorry I’m not sorry for the incessant apple chomping Prof. DeAndrea’s COMM 2540!
9. Treat Yo’Self
Being healthy doesn’t mean not splurging every so often! Nothing sounds better than your famous grilled cheese? Long night out and you and your friends want to go grab a slice or four of pizza? Just finished the hardest class of your life and need that creamy cup of cookie dough ice cream? Go for it! These less-healthy treats eaten occasionally can in fact hep curb unhealthy cravings and plus they’re just good for the soul.
10. Sleep. A Lot.
When it comes to health, sleep is just as (if not even more) important as eating well and exercising. Sleep, just like healthy living, in college is often a folklore; but being mindful and taking the time to get some good shut-eye is über important. A good night’s sleep has a positive effect on all aspects of our lives. Better sleep means better moods, better eating habits, better focus, better energy, better life! Sleeping also means dreaming…which for me usually includes Ansel Elgort, horseback riding, or Harry Styles so BRB gonna go take nap. Until next time beautiful friends! Keep kicking butt and killing it.