Sure, you resolved that in the New Year you’ll eat better, exercise more and stay fit. But the hectic life of a college student on the go can make daily tasks, such as eating healthy, balanced meals or exercising on a regular basis, very challenging. And while working, studying or going to class may be legitimate excuses, our bodies need these things as much as we need to finish that paper on time. Fortunately, there are ways to improve eating and squeeze in exercising without taking too much time out of the day. Here are 20 easy ways to improve eating and exercising without affecting a busy schedule.
• Ask for a box: If you’re out for dinner and a restaurant portion is too large, don’t pressure yourself to finish. Eat half and then immediately ask for a box. Not only will you be eating the correct portion, you’ll have great leftovers for the next day.
• Plan ahead: This is another great way to eat healthy when dining out. If you can look at a menu online before going out, you’re better able to resist temptation and pick out something that you want, but that’s also healthy. You’ll be less likely to be hungry while picking out food, temptation will be resisted.
• Prepare for parties: Everyone faces the most temptation to stray from healthy eating on weekends. If you fill up on a healthy snack or meal before going to a party, you will be less likely to eat greasy appetizers or party food.
• The 50 Percent Rule: There are plenty of tips to avoid succumbing to the hunger bug at home as well. Adding more fruits and vegetables to one’s diet is one of the best ways to get healthy. One of the best and easiest ways to increase the number of fruits and veggies you eat is to follow the 50 percent rule – make it your goal to have half of your dinner or lunch plate covered in fruits or veggies. This helps improve your daily nutrition as well as lose weight; the body uses almost as many calories to digest vegetables as there are in vegetables in the first place.
• Size does matter: Meals are the one time to use this distasteful slogan. Keeping portion sizes in mind is crucial to eating smart. General guidelines for portions are:
Starch (noodles, rice and cereal) – eat an amount the size of your fist
Protein (meats, tofu) – size of two palms
Fruits – size of a tennis ball
Vegetable – size of a fist
• Plan out your snacks: If you have a solid food plan, you won’t slip up and eat unhealthily because you are thinking on the fly. If food-on-the-go is your weakness, there are plenty of healthier options at every fast food restaurant:
Subway Turkey Breast Wrap (190calories)
Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich (270 Calories)
Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bar (120 calories)
McDonald's Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait (160calories)
Baked Cheetos (100 calories)
• Sack lunch it: By bringing your own lunch to work or class, you can control what you eat better. Plan out what you want to pack before every week and you’ll save yourself some time in the morning as well as money.
• Be a smart shopper: Never do your grocery shopping hungry. Always go before eating a snack or healthy meal. This makes you less likely to stray to foods you do not need. Making a list is also helping in sticking to healthy purchases.
• Think super foods: Superfoods are low in calories and high in nutrients. They are great sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients. Superfoods such as blueberries, broccoli, salmon and walnuts can help improve any diet.
• Beverages are a factor too: Sugary drinks can be one of the main causes of calorie intake each day. Trade the soda (diet or regular) for herbal tea, or 100 percent fruit drinks.
• Water, water, water: Try to drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day.
• Eating fast food: Again, no soda. Drink water, juice, etc. Also ask for the grilled chicken sandwich without mayo and use packets of ketchup or mustard to dress your sandwich instead. That way, you can limit how much you use.
• Keep exercise varied: Keeping the exercise routine varied and different each day will help keep you motivated to continue exercising. Mixing it up between different activities such as weight lifting, walking, running or even workout classes will help ensure that you do something each day, even if the time or weather varies.
• Get a workout buddy: While we all blow off our promises to ourselves, we are much less likely to blow off commitments to our friends. Sharing a workout schedule with a friend ensures that you will stick to it as well. If your health isn’t a big enough motivator, your friend counting on you definitely will be.
• Exercise even when you are “too tired”: Exercising will help that groggy, gross feeling. With better use of the oxygen exchange, the body will feel more energized. If you’re on your way back from work or class, go straight to the gym instead of home. You’re more likely to blow off a daily workout if you head home to your couch.
• Walk: Even a small effort can contribute to one’s overall health. Walking an extra 15 minutes a day will contribute to weight loss and healthy living. Easy ways to do this include taking the longer route to work or class and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
• The 15 minute work-out: The 15 minute workout – Rick Bradley’s Quick Fit 15 minute exercise program is perfect for those who have a limited time frame. Bradley suggests exercisers spend the first 10 minutes doing aerobic activity. Walking, stationary bikes and treadmills are popular favorites. He then follows this with one minute of abdominal exercise, for which he suggests 50 half bent-knee sit ups. This is followed by three minutes of strength moves and one minute of flexibility training. Strength moves can vary depending on the person and desired area of improvement. Bradley suggests curls, chin-ups and chestpresses. Flexibility can be obtained with any sort of stretching. All of Bradley’s workout suggestions can be found here: http://www.ricksquickfit.com/
• App it: You can use smart phone applications to help motivate yourself to stay healthy and exercise on a regular basis. Apps such as Nexercise and the Special K Challenge can help keep you on track and even add rewards as incentives.
• Baby step to your goals: It may seem overwhelming to have too many health goals set. Keep it simple. Set one or two easy goals for yourself each week.
• Reward yourself: Altering your behavior is hard. With rewards as incentives, you will have more motivation to live a healthier life. Decide on a goal, work toward it and reward yourself when it is completed.