Living On Campus
As a young adult of 18 or 19 living on campus, the main requirements include knowing the basic layout of the dorm rooms, where the semester classes are located, and most importantly, where to get food on short notice. For those living on a budget, meal preparation and consumption is often relegated to vending machines, the dollar menu at fast food places, and the inevitable instant dry noodle soups known as Ramen. Can anyone gain weight on this diet? For a sedentary person, the answer is yes.
Typically a student walks more while living on campus than they have in their past life, classes are spread far in between, and there are tons of activities around campus that require putting a foot in front of the other. College life is typically active and most students burn calories on excitement and stress alone. The food source may be unhealthy in fat contents and calories, but physical and mental work takes care of burning off the greasy fare. Unfortunately, there is not much by way of nutrition in the above mentioned menu and a healthy brain and body is in need of vitamins, minerals and lean protein to function properly and stave off illness and lethargy. What is a student to do?
If the tuition includes a menu plan, making the effort to select the best possible meals offered at the school should be a no-brainer and a lot easier in modern times than it was in the past. Many school cafeterias cater to health conscious individuals by offering fruits and vegetables in their daily line-up. Starting with a soup loaded with vegetables is not only nutritious but satisfying; choosing sandwiches made with whole grain breads is a healthy alternative that provides needed soluble fiber. Forgo the soft drinks and indulge in a glass of tomato or orange juice to boost your intake of vitamin C.
It is a lie that pizza is a vegetable even if it contains tomato sauce and the occasional string of bell pepper. Stocking up on healthy snacks for the dorm room is essential to avoid rushing into poor decisions.
Keep on hand the following:
- Protein bars to keep the brain functioning properly during stressful study times and late night cravings.
- Apples and bananas stay fresh for days and are easy to carry and consume on the way to class.
- Dry fruits, nuts, beef or turkey jerky are portable and satisfying snacks.
- Microwave popcorn is satisfying snack that provides fiber.
- Bottled water and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice instead of soda or sports drinks.
Campbell's makes microwavable soup bowls that include many of the favorite varieties found in their canned version. Keeping a few on hand will help prevent reaching for cold and greasy pizza during a study break and provide comfort associated with home life.
*Note: Planning and sticking to a regular meal schedule allows the body to forgo storing unnecessary fat.