You Are What You Eat:
Smart Food Choices for Healthy College Living
- You donít have to join them. Being at college offers you the freedom to make food decisions, from what youíll eat to when youíll eat it. If you use that freedom wisely, the leftover sushi wonít get you (as in food poisoning), nor will the dreaded "freshman 15" (the mythical 15 pounds freshmen are said to gain). One study out of Tufts University showed freshmen women gaining 4.5 pounds and men gaining up to 6 pounds. And, who knows, you could wind up healthier than when you arrived. Here are some tips to help you choose healthfully, to benefit both your body and your brain:
- 6 ounces grains, 2.5 cups vegetables, 2 cups fruits, 3 cups dairy, 5.5 ounces meat and beans, for a daily 2,000 calories. Limit oils to 6 teaspoons and extra fat and sugars to 260 calories (about 1 cup of low-fat cookie dough ice cream).
- If youíre active 30 to 60 minutes most days, you can increase to 2,200 calories by having 7 ounces grains, 3 cups vegetables, 2 cups fruits, 3 cups dairy, 6 ounces meat and beans (extra fat and sugar may go up to 270 calories).
- 9 ounces grains, 3.5 cups vegetables, 2 cups fruits, 3 cups dairy, 6.5 ounces meats and beans, with 8 teaspoons of oil, extra fat and sugars limited to 360 calories, for 2,600 calories daily.
- More active? You may eat 10 ounces grains, 3.5 cups vegetables, 2.5 cups fruits, 3 cups dairy, 7 ounces meat and beans, 8 teaspoons of oil and extra fat and sugars to 400 calories, for a daily 2,800 calories.
- Use only one plate and put all your food on it. Do not refill. Keep food portions moderate. Big portions make you more likely to keep on eating after youíre full, especially if youíre sitting and talking with friends.
- Skip fat- or cream-based sauces and graviesóor ask for them on the side. Add only what you need for flavor.
- If you want dessert, go back after your meal to make your choice. Youíre less likely to load up on sweets when youíre full.
- Choose water or low-fat milk to drink, not soda, which only provides sugar and empty calories.
- Itís boring, but true: youíll prevent weight gain by exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting good sleep.
- Staying up late? Donít order pizza for a fourth meal. Keep healthy snacks in your room. Fruit, yogurt, popcorn, instant oatmeal, soup and even protein bars are better choices.
- Having healthy snacks on hand also helps you avoid the temptations of your dormís vending machines.
- Soda and other sugary drinks serve up empty caloriesóand lots of them. Make the switch to diet soda, or better yet, water.
- Weird as it may sound, you shouldn't miss a meal. Missed meals lead to overeating and cravings for junk foods. Aim for eating meals at the same time every day.
- Donít skip breakfast. Start your day (at whatever time) with light, healthful food.
- Carry a granola bar, small box of cereal or apple with you, just in case you miss a meal.
- Call the student health center if you have symptoms of food-borne illnessódiarrhea, accompanied by fever or vomiting.
- Eat only fully cooked meat, poultry, seafood and fish. If you see pink or red flesh, donít eat it.
- Say "no thanks" to unrefrigerated potato and egg salads, raw milk and cheese and unpasteurized cider or juice.
- Donít save leftover sushi or sushi rice. They can harbor bacteria and lead to food-borne illness.
- Store other leftovers in your dorm room refrigerator and use them within a day or two. If you donít have a refrigerator, toss'em
© 2013. National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved. All content provided in this guide is for information purposes only. Any information herein relating to specific medical conditions, preventive care and/or healthy lifestyles does not suggest individual diagnosis or treatment and is not a substitute for medical attention.
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