Just for the Health of It: You are what you eat

Being on a college campus can make eating right a tough task. The culture that we are immersed in often forces us to eat at odd times of the day, eat late at night, and eat unhealthy foods in general. Our fast paced, busy lifestyle often makes us think that making a Hot Pocket is the easiest and quickest way to get a meal in. It seems that no healthy options exist in our dining halls, or at local restaurants.
Our diet can easily downgrade from decently healthy to extremely poor in only a week’s time. Although a good diet may not seem very important, it is critical both physically and mentally that we eat as well as we can, or ramifications may occur. Today, I would like to offer up some quick, easy tips for eating right, as well as the one diet rule that I live by on a daily basis.
First, let’s explore the options of on campus dining facilities. At Brooks, it is easy to be drawn to pizza, burgers, and ice cream. Obviously, these items taste better than some of the healthier alternatives, and are at our disposal in large amounts day in and day out. However, you can only choose these foods for so long before negative effects will begin taking place.
Be aware that Brooks also has many healthy options as well; salads, fruit, sandwiches, and my personal favorite, omelets, are much better alternatives to the previous options. Make a conscious effort to get a salad with your pizza or the vegetable of the day with your burger—it will do wonders. Additionally, take a couple of pieces of fruit on the way out of Brooks to keep in your dorm room for a healthy breakfast (a person can only eat Pop Tarts for so long).
At McKinley’s, it is extremely easy to eat well. If you frequent the Grill, try some grilled chicken or a breakfast sandwich instead of fried tenders or onion rings.
If you haven’t tried the salad bar here, do so a few times a week—it is a much better alternative to loaded nachos for lunch, and it won’t kill you (I promise). Finally, cut back on the soda and choose water. Water is free, and doesn’t have the terrible effects on your body that soda does; it is a win-win choice.
If you live in a building that allows you to cook your own meals, I highly recommend doing so. Weekly groceries cost much less than a meal plan, and buying your own food allows you to control exactly what you eat. You will be able to choose healthy options, creating a much better diet for yourself than what the dining halls are ultimately able to offer. Cooking for yourself can take as little as 10 minutes, and the reward of a healthy lifestyle will pay priceless dividends.
With all of this being said, it is fine to live a little. Eating healthy, to some people, means that no room exists for eating foods that are unhealthier. If eating healthy turns into eating “perfectly,” it is almost impossible to stay sane, and psychological problems with body image, etc. can arise.
The rule that I live by each week is the 80/20 Rule. This means that I eat healthy around 80% of the time, and allow myself some leeway to eat things that taste good, but may not be the healthiest option (the 20%). This rule allows flexibility of the diet, while also promoting a healthy lifestyle.
This week, challenge yourself to choose better food options. You will find that while it may be difficult at first, you will feel happier and healthier. And as the weather is turning dreary, and the grind of the school year is in full swing, who doesn’t want to feel a little better?