Keeping fit and maintaining one’s weight whilst at college can be difficult, especially when accompanied with big changes in student lifestyle – eating fast or packaged food instead of home cooked cook meals, juggling classes and work, snacking whilst studying, stresses of exams and living independently.
Here are a few tips to staying healthy and fit at college, on a budget:
- Join a gym or a sports club.Gym memberships can be expensive, but it helps you to commit time to using it if you are paying for it. Otherwise, dedicate a Saturday or Sunday afternoon playing a sport. There are many amateur sports clubs at college that just require enthusiasm and commitment. Try rowing, hockey, netball, volleyball, karate or badminton. At some colleges, enrolling in an exercise class could earn you extra credits at college.
- Get a physical job.Waiting tables, construction work, mucking out at the stables or walking dogs all require a good degree of physical exertion. This will help you budget for other activities and also reduce the time available for snacking.
- Walk instead of drive.Get up a little earlier in the morning and walk into campus rather than drive. In fact, having a class to get to on time will help you keep up your pace. Instead of sitting over coffee with a friend during breaks, suggest a walk around campus to get some air.
- Try to plan meals.Lean minced meat and diced chicken in some sauce are easy things to cook in bulk and freeze for the rest of the week. Eggs are also an easy way to get protein in your diet. Then it is just a matter of taking 10 minutes to cook some whole wheat pasta or parboiled brown rice, and steam some frozen broccoli or root vegetables like carrots in the microwave. This is will help you avoid fattening and additive-laden microwave meals and save money.
- Snack healthily.Fresh fruit and vegetables are the best things to snack on if you are a student because they are cheap. Chop up cucumber, celery and carrots and put them in a box to take with you to college. Nuts are expensive but also healthy and contain a lot of essential vitamins and nutrients. Light popcorn or some cheese can help make you feel full if you are working late at night.
- Meals out.When eating out, choose something that you would not normally cook for yourself at home like seafood or fish. If it is a quick lunch, choose a wrap instead of bread, or a tuna salad instead of a burger. Fish contains a lot of omega 3 oils and other nutrients that are good for brain and eye function.
- Take time to eat.It’s easy to just inhale food when you have a busy schedule. But take the time to eat properly and taste what you eat – it can take your stomach around 20 minutes to register that you have eaten and that you are full.
- Take breaks from studying.It’s easy to incorporate a few stomach crunches and press ups when you need to rest from studying in your room. Doing stretching exercises like yoga is also good for relieving stress, muscle tension and maintaining alertness. Exercising is also good for improving the memory.
- Swap alcoholic beverages for fruit juice.A 12 oz regular beer can contain as much as 200 calories – a few beers on a Friday night and that means you are consuming the equivalent of an extra meal, without the added benefit of nutrition. Furthermore, alcohol increases various health risks and the risk of accident. Instead of ordering a beer, have a no-added sugar fruit juice or squash – this will keep you hydrated and alert to enjoy an evening with friends. If you must drink, swap a beer for a glass of wine. A 4oz serving of dry, white wine contains around 100 calories.