The body needs certain nutrients, and negative effects like a lack of focus, loss of energy and overall poor quality of life can easily kick in when it doesn’t have access to them. The food you eat is the solution to this problem.
Feeling tired can get boring after a while, and eating out every other night can really take its toll on the body. It’s important to ask yourself whether the snacks and junk food you eat are actually satisfying your hunger, or if they’re just filling you up with empty calories.
If you eat a well-balanced diet, you’ll be filling up on…
- Vital nutrients for repair and growth which will help you stay healthy and strong, and help you avoid diet-related illnesses like diabetes and some cancers.
- Enough energy to keep you going all day long.
It’s also much easier to maintain a healthier weight if you’re eating a healthy balanced diet and keeping active.
Parts of your immune system may be weakened if you have deficiencies in some key nutrients, such as zinc, selenium, iron and vitamins A, B, C and E.
When it comes to college or university, the key to success really does lie in what you’re eating. Fast food does not offer the specific range of foods that the body needs. Instead, a specific diet has been recommended for students. This diet has four main components:
Students should aim to consume three servings of dairy every day, which can include milk and cheese.
Students are recommended to include whole grains like brown rice and whole grain pasta in their diet. White bread and other enriched products are best avoided and replaced with whole grain bread. The body processes foods like white bread as sugar when they’re digested and broken down. As a result, enriched foods can sometimes result in a sugar spike and crash.
Lean turkey, lean chicken and eggs are great sources of lean protein, which is a must for students’ diets. If you don’t eat meat or animal products, tofu is also a great source.
Just like everyone else, students should be eating a minimum of five portions of vegetables and fruit each day.
As simple as this diet may sound, many students are not following it.
Of course, it’s not a massive surprise that most college and university students aren’t getting their five-a-day. In fact, many aren’t even getting one portion.
Eating healthy meals on campus can be a challenge when you’re squeezing them in between classes, especially if you’re eating in a college cafeteria. Many students will walk into the room with the goal of eating something that’s good for them, but when comparing a tasty slice of pizza to a bowl of lettuce that’s been gently warming for a few hours, it’s difficult to opt for the latter.
Even the most dedicated of healthy eaters may end up putting their diet aspirations on the back burner in favour of something convenient and reliably tasty every once in a while.
According to a national survey of American students, just 7.8% were managing to get their five-a-day. According to a 2015 study of British students, students in Britain were eating slightly healthier, but still only 18.6% were eating a favourable diet.
Another concern is that some students aren’t simply not eating vegetables – they’re not eating at all. Around 75% of American students are believed to skip meals. A 2018 study suggested that around 30% of students in the UK skip breakfast most days, or every day.
Quick Tip: Add One Serving of Colourful Vegetables or Fruit to Each Meal
Fruits and vegetables are delicious AND good for your health – that’s what makes it so sad that people aren’t eating enough of them. If you want to make one change to your diet today, make yourself add some fruit or vegetables to every meal possible. You just need to pay a little more attention to what you’re doing, it’s a simple change to make!
Almost everywhere you eat, adding something good is possible. If you’re having porridge or cereal for breakfast, throw in some raisins or fresh berries, or have an apple on the side. You could even just add a glass of orange juice if you’re in a rush.
Grab some crunchy raw carrots at lunch, or have some sticks of cucumber or celery with hummus. Instead of ice cream, end your meal with a banana or a tangerine.
Bad eating habits have real consequences, even if these disadvantages aren’t showing straight away. For example, you’ll feel less energetic as a result of the preservatives and sodium content in fast food, and you can gain an unhealthy amount of weight.
When the body isn’t receiving the proper nutrients found in fresh food, the capability of your brain is capped. It is not possible to work to your full potential if you aren’t giving your body the fuel it needs, and college is exactly when you want to be firing on all cylinders.
Don’t allow your changing priorities from starting university affect your future or your present. Eating a healthy diet may require a little more thought than just ordering another pizza, but it really isn’t that difficult and it’s well worth the effort.
For more information about the food you need to eat as a student, check out Need2Know’s Essential Student Cookbook, which will help you prepare and cook healthy meals and snacks, proving that quick and easy healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming, and can be done on a student budget. Need2Know also have some great books about vegan cooking, cholesterol and weight loss. Whether you’re a budding gourmet chef or a pot noodle fanatic, we’ll have the recipe that’s right for you!