Whether it’s studying for an exam, working on a complex project, or writing double-digit page papers, as students we are more than familiar with the feeling of stress. And many of us are familiar with stress eating, especially during finals week, all-nighters, and when we spend entire days in the library. When students are spending many hours studying, they often can be seen with bags of chips, cans of soda, cups of coffee, and pints of ice cream; mostly foods with sugar, fat, salt, and caffeine. These foods are comforting and may provide a small bit of relief from challenging brain work.
However, what many students don’t realize is that these comfort foods, the sugary, fatty, salty foods and caffeinated beverages can actually make it more difficult to study. These comfort foods are often made up of white flour and sugar, and are called simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates provide your body with a quick burst of energy while rapidly raising and dropping your blood sugar, which can leave you feeling tired and unable to focus. You’ll also feel more hungry after a shorter period of time, and crave another candy bar or bag of chips. And caffeine from soda, coffee, and energy drinks can make you feel jittery and anxious. Continue reading →
On New Year’s Day, millions of people make resolutions to start the year off right. People want to face challenges, look good and feel good, and live a better life than the previous year. Some of the most popular resolutions include “eat healthy food, get fit, lose weight, and manage stress” (source).
At college, a new school year can come with many new changes; new home, new roommates, and a new schedule. It also provides a new opportunity to start the school year off right! Keeping up with your health in college is one of the keys to success. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be less likely to get sick (and therefore less likely to miss class), you may have better concentration, and you may find it easier to study and tackle assignments. You may also gain a new sense of self confidence that helps you to make new friends and improves your public speaking skills. Taking care of yourself involves a proper sleep pattern, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and time management skills.
Getting enough sleep. There are many excuses and reasons for why college students don’t get enough sleep. You may be up late working on an assignment for your 8am class, you may be pulling a late shift to pay for your textbooks, or you just don’t feel like going to bed. Continue reading →
Before I went off to college, I had many fears about the next four years of my life. I wondered about the workload, homesickness and making new friends, finding my way around, and the dreaded Freshman 15. I actually thought the Freshman 15 was an inevitable part of college, and that late night pizza deliveries and endless dining hall desserts were just a fact of college, like exams and papers.
If the Freshman 15 is something you find yourself in fear of, you can breathe a sigh of relief because a nationwide study conducted by the Ohio State University found that it is just a myth. The study featured data from 7, 418 people between the ages of 13 and 17 in 1997, and continued to interview them about their weight and college status each year since. What the study found was that only 10% of students actually gained 15 or more pounds during their freshman year! Women, on average, gained 2.4 pounds and men gained an average of 3.4 pounds as freshman. A quarter of the participants were found to actually have lost weight! So where does the small weight change come from? Simply growing up and becoming an adult. (source)
If you are still worried about the Freshman 15, or would simply like to pick up a healthy new lifestyle, college provides a great opportunity to do this.
In the dining hall:
SUNY dining halls are excellent in providing a variety of healthy choices. Use it to your advantage!
Simple tips to sneak in healthy food at the dining hall
Enjoy a fresh salad, topped with a lean meat such as skinless grilled chicken, sliced turkey, or protein-packed beans (garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lentils)
Ask for your sandwich on whole wheat bread, and pile fresh veggies onto your sandwich such as lettuce and tomato, cucumbers, onion, bell pepper strips- just skip the mayo!
Swap out a hamburger for a leaner meat such as skinless grilled chicken or a turkey burger, or even a fiber-filled veggie burger!
Try an egg white omelet. They are low in cholesterol and high in protein! Fill it with veggies and skip the bacon.
Start your day the right way by having a bowl of whole grain cereal such as cheerio’s or raisin bran with skim milk and fresh fruit.
Moderation is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle, so don’t feel that you can’t have your favorite treats like French fries or dessert. Limit those items to a few times a week, and really savor the moment when you are eating them!
In your dorm room:
Residence halls are a great part of the SUNY experience. This is probably where you will meet your first friends, do your homework, and relax. Make it a part of your healthy lifestyle by keeping healthy choices there!
Healthy options for your new home
Keep healthy breakfast items in your room in case you don’t have time to hit the dining hall before class. Whole grain cereal, skim milk, fresh fruit, granola bars, yogurt, oatmeal, and peanut butter are all great options!
Eating a small snack between meals can be a great way to help you control your weight and stave off hunger. Easy small snack choices (less than 200 calories) can include string cheese made with skim milk, veggie sticks and hummus, whole grain crackers, trail mix, yogurt, fresh fruit, peanut butter, and popcorn.
For a small sweet treat, keep individually wrapped dark chocolate pieces, pudding made with skim milk, or frozen yogurt bars, fruit bars, or small ice cream bars on hand! They can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without sending you overboard.
Keeping or adopting a healthier lifestyle in college is something that can be both attainable and enjoyable. Be sure to take advantage of the campus gym and exercise classes to keep your body as healthy as you can!
Hi everyone! My name is Alyssa, and I am a senior at SUNY Oneonta. My major is Dietetics, and my minor is health and wellness. I love all things nutrition, especially writing about it, so I am excited and honored to be able to contribute to the SUNY blog!
Nutrition is my passion, and I believe it is a vital part of success throughout college, throughout a career, and throughout life. Eating a balanced diet coupled with regular physical fitness provides our brains and bodies with the power we need to be able to function properly.
I will be contributing nutrition articles to this blog, to help you to do just that as you venture through your college career. I hope you enjoy them, and learn from them! All responses, opinions, discussions, and questions are welcome!