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10 Tips for Healthy Eating on Campus



  1. Add mindfulness to your eating.  In other words, eat while you're eating.  Ever notice how easy it is to overeat if you eat while watching TV, or driving, or studying? Eating while doing other things disconnects us from our hunger and fullness cues, and can result in overeating. If you need a snack break during study time, stop studying and enjoy what you’re eating. Limiting the amount and types of snack food you keep in your room may be helpful in managing what you choose and how much you eat.

  2. Choose a variety of whole foods, and try to include 6 "poster plates" per week (1/2 veggies, 1/4 protein, 1/4 good carbs).  All foods either fuel the body or clog the body.  Eat intuitively, and learn to ask yourself, What is this food doing for me?  The closer the food is to its original form, the better.  Take advantage of the wide variety of the whole foods in Lane, or keep fruits and veggies in your room for easy snacking.  

  3. Stay hydrated and chose water-rich foods to supplement water intake.  Water-rich foods contribute nutrients as well as count toward the recommended 8 glasses of water a day.  Thirst is often confused for hunger, so staying hydrated is important for ensuring that you are responding to hunger when you eat.  Water-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, and foods prepared naturally with water like oatmeal, rice, soup, etc.

  4. Eat breakfast every day. Starting your day with breakfast will get your metabolism going, provide you with energy to focus in your classes, and will help prevent overeating later in the day. Skipping breakfast often leads to “cumulative hunger," which can result in overeating throughout the evening.

  5. Eat every 3-4 hours every day to keep your metabolism high and to prevent getting overly hungry.  Include planned snacks throughout your day. Planning ahead for meals and snacks means generally making healthier choices than grabbing something when you’re starving. Pack or purchase yogurt and fruit or a banana with peanut butter.

  6. Be aware of liquid calorie intake if you’re concerned about weight. Sodas, sweetened drinks, coffee drinks, and even fruit juice can quickly add calories. The main problem with liquid calories is that they usually don’t provide lasting satiety or fullness, so they can end up being “extra." Milk and protein drinks are an exception, and provide substantial nutrition and satiety for the calories. However, if you are underweight or you’re an athlete, including beverages like fruit juice, milk, and Gatorade can be beneficial.

  7. Choose reasonable portions.  Studies consistently show that we eat up to 35% more when given larger portions of food.

  8. Slow down! It takes 20-30 minutes to feel full. Fast eaters often end up feeling stuffed because they don’t have time to register the feeling of fullness.

  9. Keep yourself rested.  Many people eat more when they’re tired, in a misguided effort to stay more alert.  Lack of rest also can increase cortisol levels; chronically elevated cortisol can trigger increased hunger signals, leading to overeating.

  10. Enjoy your food, and make room for treats. Having a guideline like allowing one treat each day may be helpful with keeping your diet healthy without being too rigid.

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