Thrive on Campus//

You Are What You Eat: How to Eat Well in College

"Eating well is not the key to perfect mental and physical health, but it is a key component in the puzzle."

Photo by Mariana Medvedeva on Unsplash
Photo by Mariana Medvedeva on Unsplash

Welcome to our new section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus.) We welcome faculty, clinicians and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

The act of eating is so central to our daily lives and at school, it is so important to be mindful of what you are using to fuel your body. It is so easy to go for some fries, but according to Dr. Eva Selhub, eating too many refined and processed foods can be damaging to your brain. 

So how are you supposed to stay healthy at school? As a college-aged student myself, I understand how difficult it is to eat healthy in a dining hall and on a budget. I have discovered a few easy tricks to keep my body and mind working well.

Eat Consistently

This one is really difficult, but also probably the most important. With a whole load of classes and clubs, eating enough can get hard. I used to forget to eat until dinner and then end up consuming everything under the sun. Make breaks during your day to not only grab a meal, but also take a step back from everything going on. Meal breaks can double as good socialization and relaxation periods!

Pick Mindful Meals

As weird as it may sound, eating with intention is really important. When choosing a meal in the dining hall, only take items you know you will eat. Don't waste food or over take. It is not only wasteful, but you may find yourself eating more than you normally would. Eating mindfully also means taking more time to savor what you're eating. Take time to think about the moment.  

Choose Fruits and Veggies

I would say that this is another easier said than done suggestion, but it is doable. Fresh fruits and veggies are often cheaper than you'd think. Check your dining hall for apples and bananas to snack on throughout the day. Also be sure to look at your local grocer's flyer to see what is on sale for the week. Even better, see if there is a farmer's market nearby. 

Have a Cookie Every Once in a While

Yes, you should treat yourself to a snack every once in a while. All processed and refined foods are okay to eat in moderation.  

Set Reminders

I have several reminders on my phone to drink water, eat an apple, take my vitamins, moisturize, and to get up and walk around throughout the day. It is difficult to remember to hydrate and eat sometimes with my hectic schedule. I often feel that I have too much to do, but it really only takes a few seconds to drink water or have a snack.  

These tips are just small suggestions to make big changes in your physical and mental well-being.  After eating better and abiding by a schedule, I feel so much a bit better. By feeding yourself well and drinking plenty of water, you are providing yourself with nutrients that are essential to your body's most basic cellular functions. Eating well is not the key to perfect mental and physical health, but it is a key component in the puzzle.  

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