The Struggle to Stay Healthy

Cassey Ho, health junkie and founder of  Blogilates

Cassey Ho, health junkie and founder of Blogilates

Transitioning from high school can be a challenge. While you strive to maintain a high grade point average, you can easily get distracted from meals that keep you stimulated while on-the-go, resulting in the infamous Freshman 15. To avoid those unwanted pounds and the negative affects of malnutrition, I have provided some effective personal tips.

If you are a busy college student living in New York City, chances are you won’t have much time to sit down and enjoy a home-cooked meal with friends and family. This is truly a city that never sleeps – so we are constantly in search for food at our convenience, which usually results in a quick order from GrubHub or Seamless.

One of the biggest reasons I put on weight my freshman year was because of my reliance upon fast food. Instead of making a balanced breakfast every morning, grabbing something quick from Dunkin’ Donuts seemed much more appealing and convenient. I have learned that it is essential to eat breakfast every morning. Beginning your day with nutritious food will not only hold you over during your busy morning, but it will also speed up your metabolism.

I have also learned that cutting out fast food from your diet can be quite the challenge, especially when you are hungry and pressed for time. However, if that is the case, opt for something low in fat and sugar. Steer clear or greasy, fried foods, and keep in mind that portion size also plays a significant role. A sandwich can be a fine choice for lunch, but do you really need a whole foot-long? In other words, put some thought into what you allow in your body. Are you thinking that this is easier said than done? Well, I absolutely agree. This is also why I try to get into the habit of prepping food, especially when I have long work shifts during the weekends. Doing so has allowed for me to relax during break and save a large sum of money.

This leads me to my next tip! If you find that you enjoy cooking and actually have the time to do it, I recommend making a large portion size. Meal prepping is a great way to save time. You can prepare your food for an entire week in just one day. Pack your meals into Tupperware and re-heat when needed. This does not necessarily mean that you have to eat the same exact meal every day. If you find that your cooking creativity is not serving you justice, then check out Alyssia from “Mind Over Munch.” She presents all kinds of great basic meal prep tips and further ideas in her meal prep video.

It is important to understand that budgeting your time is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Also, planning your meals in advance is an effective tool when trying to maintain a healthy weight. Below you will find tips on what is essential to eat throughout the day given by Nutritionist Tina Stevens.

Breakfast: In the morning, try to have eggs for protein and maybe fruit for fiber. Protein has wonderful benefits such as helping you stay focused during class.

Lunch: Have some protein again (lean meats), along with veggies and more fruits. Try to stay away from processed, sugary foods. They cause insulin spikes, which ultimately make you lose energy and gain weight.

Snacks: These should be nutritious foods like nuts, corn chips and guacamole, raw veggies with dip and fruits.

Dinner: For your meal plan, dinner could be a salad with plenty of fresh vegetables and beans. As an alternative, you could have meat, chicken, or fish with a vegetable and small starch on the side.

Tina also mentioned that “it is important for students to minimize processed or packaged food, because it has little nutritional value. The ability to focus and study demands food that is nutrient dense. Processed foods are also high in sugar, salt, or trans-fat, all of which are not useful to a student.”

So forget the Ramen Noodle diet (it should be noted that one serving of Ramen contains nearly a full day's allotment for sodium) or any other quick, unhealthy, resolution to your hunger. Here are 10 Healthy Dinner ideas that are perfect for college students who are on a budget. These recipes are quite simple and encompass most of the food groups that you will need in each meal. Definitely check them out -- they will keep your stomach and your wallet full.

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Along with maintaining a balanced diet, part of your healthy lifestyle should involve working out. Many of us do not have time to spend several hours a day at the gym. My friend and personal trainer, Paul Colazzo, had some advice on how to stay in shape while un-interrupting your busy schedule.

Drinking lots of water: Paul suggests drinking about a gallon of water per day. Drinking water does wonders for the body. It can also help control your hunger.

Running: This is a fast and easy way to burn calories. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, try to at least run for 15-30 minutes per day.

Weights: For workouts on machines or with free weights, focus on doing more repetitions with less weight. Try 2-3 different exercises for each body part.

XHIT Daily and Blogilates have some great workout videos that will have you feeling the burn in as few as 10 minutes.

Getting into the best shape of your life is not going to happen overnight. Like many things in life, it will take time and persistence to really see results. It can be difficult at first to commit to living a healthier lifestyle, but be patient with yourself and remember that it will all be worth it. Try any of the tips or tricks I’ve mentioned, and figure out what works best for you.