Now that fall has arrived, most college freshman are gearing up for a new life at school. Kimberly Snyder, go-to celebrity nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution has 10 great tips on how to stay healthy at college and how to steer clear of the dreaded “freshman fifteen.”
1. Head for the salad bar. Plant foods – living foods – provide vital nutrition and enzymes. While salad bars often have some bad choices intermingled with the good, you’ll do well to pile your plate high with fresh, colorful veggies. If the dining hall has a blender available, you can even grab some greens and fruit and make yourself a GGS from salad bar ingredients. If you’re eating salad, make a quick lemon and vinegar dressing, and avoid processed meats (ham/bacon), dairy-based dressings (ranch, blue cheese, thousand island), cheese, and croutons. You can also mash part of an avocado throughout your salad, which is a whole food rather than using oil for a bit more denseness. You can top your salad with a veggie burger if that’s available, or some avocado or cooked veggies like sweet potatoes.
2. Opt for oats. Skip pre-made cold cereal for breakfast. Instead, start with a piece of fruit followed by sugar-free oatmeal. Skip the instant oatmeal if that’s the only option available.
3. Get a dorm fridge and a blender. If you’re living in the dorms, there’s no need to be completely at the mercy of unhealthy snacks. You can stock your dorm fridge with fresh produce, almond milk, gluten-free bread, and raw nuts. If you’ve got a blender, then you can start your day with a GGS. You can also make my filling Power Protein Smoothie with items that you can easily stock in your room.
4. Avoid dairy. I’ve made no secret of the fact that dairy is really bad for you. Skip food products with dairy ingredients such as milk, cheese, and butter. Your skin will look so much better also.
5. Minimize alcohol intake. Alcohol is okay in moderation, but avoid mixing it with sugary mixers or drinking a ton of beer (no keg stands!). Instead, have an occasional glass of red or white wine or stick to simple drinks like vodka and soda water.
6. Skip the soda and energy drinks. Soda is full of acidifying chemicals, as well as sugar and/or toxic artificial sweeteners. Avoid those diet soda fountains also!! There’s not a single good thing I can say about soda, which is generally everywhere on college campuses. Instead, get a good water filter and a reusable non-plastic or non-leachable plastic water bottle to carry with you.
7. Minimize animal protein. Make an effort to eliminate meats altogether, or to only include it in your meals a few times per week. When you do eat animal proteins, opt for eggs or lean poultry. College campuses are most likely not going to have grass-fed, local animals- they are most probably sourcing from factory farms, where the animals are injected with steroids and hormones that become part of what you consume.
8. Find healthy entrees. Typically, cafeterias have vegetarian choices that include whole grains and veggies. Whenever possible, choose these for an entrée, and eat it after you’ve had a big salad. You can make requests too, and possibly band together with your buds to lobby to your school counsel for more vegetarian entrees!
9. Keep healthy snacks on hand. It’s easy to give into temptation when you are busy or stressed out. Keep healthy snacks such as fruit, veggies, gluten-free crackers, and raw nuts on hand so that you don’t head to the candy machine during a marathon study session.
10. Minimize caffeine intake. It may seem like the only way to make it through finals week is with a ton of caffeine, but caffeine can leave you jittery and strung out, and mess with your adrenals. If you need a little additional energy, up your intake of complex carbohydrates such as seeds or whole grains, and get some exercise.