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Healthy College Eating

Saturday, March 02, 2013

First of all, before I say anything else, Thanks so much to everyone who's been praying about my hip! It feels a zillion times better than it did and I haven't even been to see the doctor yet! But I've been on my feet all day and it hasn't bothered me once! God really does answer prayers!

Secondly, on to what I planned on typing!

As most already know, I am a senior in college. When I first came to this school, I weighed in at about 130 pounds. I will be the first to say that the "Freshman 15" is a LIE! It's more like a "Freshman 30"!! By my first semester of my sophomore year I weighed in at 165 pounds! I had NEVER weighed that much in my entire life! I felt horrible! I couldn't get up or do anything, I had to get rid of my favorite clothes, I had to spend money on clothes I couldn't afford (that were TOTALLY unflattering by the way), and I even had people mistaking me for being pregnant! I used to want to scream so badly, "NO I'M NOT PREGNANT! I'M JUST REALLY FAT!" because in reality, I was. I was 165 pounds and it showed!

So how do you come to avoid this horrible "Freshman 15 (or 30)"? Sadly, I did not learn much about nutrition until this, my senior year - the year I joined SparkPeople. It's not exactly about what you eat, but rather being AWARE of what you eat, AND how much!

Being college students, most of us are, indeed, broke. I am one to attest to that! So we mostly rely on cafeteria food and fast food. Now some may get a bit of a shock when I say this, but EAT THE CAFETERIA FOOD! While I know that cheeseburger from McDonald's may taste a whole lot better, I promise the food in the cafeteria is typically better for you. My cafeteria almost always puts out the nutrition cards for the food they are serving. Paying attention to these cards allows me to see which foods are going to be better for my body, rather than others. Even though it does hold up the line just a wee bit!

Now, if you're fortunate enough to be able to avoid the cafeteria with the $20 you use for groceries every month, let me give you just a few tips on how to avoid the dastardly high-carb ramen noodles every night! I went shopping today (due to Spring Break) and bought a whole mess of food for about $23. Here's what I got:

-Whitewheat Bread
-Oven-Roasted Turkey Sandwich Meat
-Turkey dogs (make sure you always read the ingredients on these!)
-Reduced fat peanut spread
-Provolone Cheese
-2 Broccoli Steamables
-2 Steamables Meals
-Reduced Fat Smartbalance Butter
-Reduced Fat Mayo

Other Items I have in my possesion include:
-2 Jugs of Vanilla Almond Milk
-Spinach Dip
-90-calorie Cokes
-Junk I just happened to have in there before I got healthy.

Now, here are the secrets to how I got all this food:

1. Sales & Coupons
Pay attention to these! These can make or break your wallet! Pay special attention to the sales papers of your local supermarket(s) and grocery store(s). Go through and MAKE A LIST of all the foods you think will be beneficial to your health and affordable. When you get to the store, double-check the nutritional value on the items you listed. If it appears beneficial to your nutritional goals, put it in the cart, if not, put it back! Also be sure to walk around the store and look! If you're one of these that gets easily tempted by the aisle of chips, then I'd take this tip on the side of caution. But the reason I say this is because some stores don't always advertise EVERY special or sale they have going on! Hence, why turkey dogs ended up on my shopping list.
Coupons are a great way to cut costs too. While some coupons aren't going to save you much, others may save you a great deal, especially when coupled with the fact that an item is on sale. I had a $1.25 coupon for my butter today, and the butter was on sale for $1.59. You do the math! Also pay attention whether or not a store will double coupons or other similar coupon promotions (my favorite store for this is Harris Teeter! Boy do I rack up during Super-Double Coupon Week!).

This one's kinda self-explanatory...

3. It's not technically stealing if you already pay for it!
My cafeteria always has a giant fruit basket and a self-serve milk station. I have been known to take a large bag (or purse) and a water bottle and take apples, bananas, and 2% Milk from our cafeteria. Our cafeteria really has no issue with this since it's all-you-can-eat. But only attempt this one if there are no consequences! Some cafeterias have policies against things like this!

Now a general tip for eating healthy in college: Serving size and counting calories. This may seem like no big deal, but believe me it is! One serving of my peanut spread (2 Tbsp) is 190 calories. Now, I love peanut butter, but I'll take 190 calories over 380 any day! Also, make sure you don't exceed the number of calories essential for your body! SparkPeople is great for this if you need help with that part (I know I did!). But 2000-2500 calories/day is typically the average just for maintaining a healthy weight (so I've heard at least).

I know this post was long, but I hope these tips have guided my fellow college students (as well as some others) to strive to eat healthy during their years of school, and of life! Keep posted, and Happy Eating!


"For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself." ~1 Corinthians 11:29 (HCSB)
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.