9.02.2011

Staying Healthy in College

I have decided that I have a serious problem with eating junk food in college. I love going to the cafeteria and eating salads every day, but when in club meetings or on duty in the RA office, snacks are EVERYWHERE. Especially snacks that are full of hydrogenated, trans-fatty oils. It's hard to avoid, especially when they look so good! Here are the tips I've compiled to help you stay healthy in college - or wherever you are, for that matter.

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Tip #1: Find a workout buddy.
This is CRUCIAL. Especially if you are working out in the early mornings before class, like I do! I have NO motivation WHATSOEVER to get out of bed unless I know someone else will be waiting on me. Ask around; I'm sure there will be other people who work out in the mornings as well (or whatever time you choose to work out). Personally, I like to work out in the morning because that means the rest of my day is free to think about other things besides getting sweaty and smelly. Get it over and done with. Plus, having someone to go with helps keep you on track. I have a buddy for EVERY weekday, so I'm less likely to slack off and skip a day. It really helps! Try to work out at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each.

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Tip #2: Eat as many fresh, plant-based foods as possible.
Seriously. A lot of colleges nowadays are becoming more vegan-friendly, especially because being vegan is kinda hip to college kids. Kinda. Not totally. But its catching on! Last year, my campus was NOT vegan friendly at all. This year, we have a WHOLE NEW cafeteria, and it ever has it's own vegan/gluten free station! It's great - it has different types of hummus and salsa, and usually some sort of lentil or bean dish for protein. During RA training, I ate large salads almost every day for lunch. Salads are low in calories and can keep you pretty full. If you make plant based foods the focus of your meals, you'll fill up quickly and be able to eat more for fewer calories. More food, less calories? Come on. This is a no brainer!

Tip #3: Drink LOTS of water.
The new cafeteria recently got a new pop machine where you can add different flavored syrups to your pop and has like 160 different possible flavor combinations. It's ridiculous. Its so cool, yet so bad for you! AVOID THE POP!!! Drink water instead. It keeps you hydrated and doesn't have like 10 teaspoons of sugar in each glass (yucky).

Tip #4: If you're gonna be tempted, don't go near it.
I just don't even walk by the french fry station anymore. I know if I do, I'll grab a big pile of them with lots of ketchup. I don't need those fatty fried foods. They are tasty, but not good you. Since I give in to temptation, I've just chosen to avoid that area at all costs. It's worked so far!

Tip #5: Talk about your lifestyle choices to others.
I've been shocked by the number of people who are really open to the vegan diet and lifestyle in college. I've even found people who tried to go vegan for a while. People really respect those who stick with a vegan diet because they don't have the willpower to do it themselves. Hearing this boosts your self-esteem, ladies (and gentlemen)! You feel good knowing that YOU are doing good, so you keep up with your healthy life decisions. Yeah!

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Tip #6: Surround yourself with other healthy people. 
Is there a vegan/vegetarian group on your campus? Join it! Have friends who like to run? Go running with them in the morning! You are influenced by the people who are around you, so if you are surrounded by people who constantly eat junk food, you'll eat it too.

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