Eating healthy isn’t easy for college students these days. With so many fast food stalls at every corner and the your gang of friends hanging out local cafes and pizza joints the temptation to eat junk foods is overpowering. At the same time everyone wants to look their best. More than looking good, a health is essential. A healthy body and mind are necessary for not only looking good but feeling good about yourself. What you eat makes a difference. Fad diets do not work. They deplete your body of essential nutrients and chances are that you will gain the weight back. Whether you are looking into Atkins, Dukan, Paleo, GM etc. the common denominator of all diets is vegetables. Here are a few tips for college students for eating healthy and losing/maintaining their weight.

  • Vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods you can eat meaning you get the most bang for your buck – the for the least amount of calories you get the most amount of nutrients. Vegetables are missing in college student’s diets. Unless you eat 2 thalis a day with plenty of veggies, then you just are not getting enough veggies. The veggies in a Subway sandwich are not sufficient either.
  • Eat a good breakfast. Eggs, oatmeal or any traditional breakfasts such as upma, poha, idli, dosa, are a good choice. How you eat in the morning will set the pace for the remainder of the day. If you have no time to eat then keep some dry fruits/ chiki/ besan ladoo/ fruit and milk in your room – these are just as good or better than upma/poha, etc.
  • Choose good snacks. College students are supposed to have a good appetite! Paratha, chapatti rolls, idli, dosa are also good options. There are usually bananas, coconut water, fruit chaat stalls around most campuses. Peanuts, chana are also good and are inexpensive.
  • Biscuits/pastries/namkeen/chips/pattice/vada pav should be a treat and not something you should be eating often.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid soft drinks and sugary cold coffees and milk shakes. They are calorific and soft drinks are empty calories full of chemicals.
  • When eating out choose wisely. Italian – have a salad with your pasta or pizza. Chinese – always eat a vegetable dish with your meal and avoid fried foods. Indian – avoid heavy gravies, tandoor items are the best.
  • Don’t use restaurants and food stalls as your only social meeting place. If you do this you end up eating or drinking something you may not need. Meet at a park, someone’s home, etc.
  • Follow the 80-20 rule. Eat your ghar ka khana (roti-sabji, dal-chawal) 80% of the time and 20% you are allowed to indulge.
This article appeared in the Pune Mirror in February 2015

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