I came across this post onNerd Fitness about A College Guide to Eating Healthy. We have a bunch of students at CFK so i thought this would be a good read. Plus lots of the tips are very relevant for everyone who is stuck eating out.
Foundation: The “Doing Good” Mindset
A couple years ago, I read an article in the New York Times about the concept of finite willpower, and the idea has stuck with me ever since. The gist is that exerting willpower to make yourself do one thing will make it more difficult to do other things that require willpower as well. Judging by this recent Nerd Fitness article on willpower, it seems like Steve has come to similar conclusions.
When applied to the strenuous, hectic experience of college, this concept can help manage homework, classes, and jobs. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy to lose willpower and turn to cheap, convenient food.
That’s why the key here is to focus on doing good, not on being perfect. It’s almost impossible for anyone to stick to their diet 100% of the time (unless we’re talking about Jack Lalanne here). For those of us in college, the stresses of student life can make it even harder. By focusing on simply doing good, we can make progress towards our goals and avoid being discouraged by one or two cheat meals. Expecting perfection out of yourself is a good way to become susceptible to the “what-the-hell” effect that causes so many dieters to binge.
With that in mind, the foundation of our college-friendly eating guidelines will be the Paleo Diet. If you’re just starting out I’d recommend simply reading Steve’s paleo guide.
Basically, these diets are based around eating what our ancient ancestors ate such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and natural oils. Grains and processed foods (sugar and grease) are not part of the Paleo Diet, so the goal should be to minimize them as much as possible.
Over the summer, I came up with a good set of foods that are close to being in line with them. Remember, as a college student I use the doing goodmindset, realizing that it’s pretty hard to be perfect. Here are my staple foods for a great college diet:
Meats: I tend to use chicken as my primary meat. Why? Chicken is the best quality meat that won’t break the bank. I sometimes buy beef, but the best kind of beef (grass-fed) is really expensive. I also don’t buy much fish, as quality wild-caught fish costs around $15/lbwhere I live. The cheaper stuff is all farmed fish, which isn’t that great for you.
Eggs: I go through these like nobody’s business. They’re packed with protein, supply essential vitamins and minerals like choline and selenium, and are great at making you feel full.
Vegetables: I try to eat a wide variety of veggies in order to get all the nutritional benefits they provide. I prefer carrots, green bell peppers, onions, spinach, green beans, and broccoli.
Fruits: Apples, bananas, strawberries, and oranges for me.
White Rice: “Wait, I thought you weren’t supposed to eat grains!” – This is true. However, due to budget constraints, sometimes I eat rice and other grains. Remember, this is about doing good, not being perfect. Plus, after visiting Japan, I fell in love with the food.
Water and Tea: Calorie-heavy drinks like soda and juice can impede your progress greatly. Try to stick to water and tea as much as possible for the best results. Want your tea to taste awesome? Get it loose-leaf instead of bagged.
These are foods that worked for me, more or less operating under Paleo principles, fitting within the budget and constraints of college, and satisfying my own taste. If you can modify your own eating habits to use this group of foods, you’ll have a darn healthy diet.
However, doing this isn’t always the easiest thing — College can present roadblocks to eating a healthy diet. Let’s look at a few of them now, as well as some strategies for overcoming them.
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