Though we all hear how important it is to eat healthily, actually doing so could be a real challenge - especially when you are a student. With all these classes, activities, social life, and sometimes even a part-time job to handle many students rarely find time to cook a proper healthy meal.
But this still doesn’t mean that you should abandon all the hopes of eating healthy - as well as let your lifestyle affect your health and wellbeing. Even if you are super busy, you can do something good for your health. For example, follow these nutrition tips.
1. Mean planning is important
If you do have some time to spare during the weekend, try using it to come up with a proper meal plan. Having a meal plan can benefit you in the following ways:
- you’ll be able to make your daily diet more diverse and nutritious;
- you’ll ensure that you’ll buy food you’ll actually eat;
- you’ll minimize your chances of eating junk food.
Moreover, you can use this meal plan to cook your meals in advance. For example, you can find some time in the evening to prepare meals for the following day - and when you have a meal plan to follow, you won’t spend any time on thinking what do you need to cook.
2. Cook more than you can eat at once
If cooking every evening is not an option for you, you should make the most out of your next opportunity to cook. Try preparing a bigger meal than the one you usually eat: this way you’ll have leftovers that you could eat for lunch the next day.
3. Be careful with snacks
Snacking, in general, is okay. It helps us to get through the day when the next real meal is still a couple of hours away. It helps us to fight hunger when we don’t have much time to eat: for example when you have exams ahead or need to come up with good research topics for an essay you have to submit tomorrow.
However, if you do want the best for your health, you should keep two things in mind:
- choose healthy snacks instead of the unhealthy ones;
- not to overeat.
The tricky thing about snacks is that they don’t always seem nourishing enough (even if they are). For example, nuts actually have a lot of calories in them - however, they are small, and so people could often overeat them. To avoid this, always be mindful when having a snack.
4. Drink water
If you didn’t practice mindful eating before, chances are you don’t understand your body’s cravings as well as you could. And it’s completely okay - actually, many people don’t understand them too.
One of the most common mistakes people make is confusing thirst with hunger. Therefore, try carrying a water bottle with you and drinking water each time you feel hungry. After you do so, wait for 10 minutes - chances are the hunger will disappear. And if not, your body would be still hydrated, which is a good thing.
5. Eat slowly
Eating slowly will not only help you feel the food’s taste and structure better - it will also help you avoid overeating. The thing is that it takes time for our brain to register that we are full - and it could take 10-30 minutes for it to do so. Therefore, you risk overeating if you consume your meal too quickly.
6. Learn how to fight unhealthy cravings
If you do want something sweet or oily or generally unhealthy, eat something healthy instead - an apple, some yogurt, etc. It’s very hard to fight unhealthy cravings when we’re hungry - but there’s a big chance that this craving itself is caused by hunger and not by the need to eat unhealthy food.
Another tip is to eat something healthy before going out with friends or doing grocery shopping. This way it would also be easier for you to resist buying and eating fast food.
Also, when you want something unhealthy, try asking yourself why do you want this. Do you want something just because you like the taste and want to savor it right now? Or do you want to eat unhealthy because you’re tired, sad or stressed?
In the first case, you could settle with a small amount of fast food - for example, eat a piece of chocolate: that would be enough to feel the taste. In the second case, try coming up with other ways to comfort yourself.
7. Don’t punish yourself if you fail sometimes
One of the main reasons why people find it hard sticking to a healthy diet is because they believe they should eat healthy all the time. Sure, this would be great - but it’s also extremely hard to many, especially for those of us who didn’t eat healthy before.
In this case, it’s totally okay to take it slow. Keep in mind that there is no unique approach that fits everyone. Some find it easier to cut the unhealthy food completely; some, however, crave it even more when they know they aren’t allowed to eat it.
So instead of punishing yourself for eating unhealthy, remind yourself that you are allowed to eat anything - it’s just you want to make healthier choices most of the time. Tell yourself that next time your choice would be healthier: this way you won’t stress out even more and won’t feel the need to comfort yourself with food.
Learning how to eat healthily is a process - and for some of us, it lasts longer than for others. And it’s okay, as long as you stick to your goal and do your best to build healthier habits.
Author Bio: Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, I write for various sites. My posts address the topics about self-education, writing, motivation, professional development. In my spare time, I prefer to read novels and crime thriller stories. Feel free to follow me on @battonschristi to ask questions or see my works.