Students strive for healthy lifestyles
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 19:01
With the fast-paced schedules and cheap lifestyles that many college students become accustomed to, healthy diets and exercise are often placed on the backburner. Comfort foods become a must as late nights and long days kick in and sleeping takes priority over exercising.
Transitioning from eating homemade meals to cafeteria and fast foods can be challenging for many students. With freedom and independence, students often turn to cheeseburgers and fries instead of salads and fruit. Take-out is an easy option for social gatherings, organizations and group meetings and running from class to class results in grabbing quick bags of chips and visiting the vending machine more often than not.
Carly Rosse, senior nutritional sciences major and treasurer of the Texas A&M Dietetic Club, said these practices lead to low energy, weight gain and other unflattering consequences.
“Bad eating habits affect our health long term,” Rosse said. “Habits are harder to break the longer they continue, so it is more effective to start making changes now. It is easier to prevent damage to our bodies than trying to fix these problems later down the road.”
Rosse said one way to begin this change is by developing a set routine of consistent meal times and portioning what you eat. Cutting out habits such as eating late after studying or going out with friends will also cut back on the unwanted pounds and lethargic effects.
Rosse said that even the simplest changes in lifestyle could have an effect.
“Some easy changes students can make are switching to whole grains, eating more fruits and vegetables, swapping a soda for water and fitting time for exercise into schedules,” Rosse said.
As a fitness instructor and private training coach at the Rec Center, Michelle Behrens, junior nutritional science major, works with students seeking health tips every day. Behrens said she sees many young adults reaching out to ask for proper training and guidance for dieting and fitness.
“By taking the time to eat right and exercise in college, your health and study habits will reflect, which is extremely important,” Behrens said.
Behrens, also the president elect for the Nutrition and Dietetic club, said making the choice of salad over the cheeseburger and taking a bit of time out of a busy schedule to get outside and exercise is crucial in establishing a healthy lifestyle.
“Simple foods such as fruits and vegetables always should be in one’s diet to give energy for the day,” Behrens said. “Also devoting time to walk extra or ride a bike for a short amount of time is very important.”
Kaitlin Coward, senior agricultural economics major, vowed at the beginning of her college career to stay determined in practicing a healthy lifestyle, and has maintained it for four years by holding true to a few tricks.
“The secret behind a good diet are lean foods and drinks such as chicken, fish, veggies, fruit, water and green tea,” Coward said. “I stay away from sugars and saturated fats.”
As a full-time student who also works 40 hours a week at a local bank, she still finds time to consistently exercise at the gym every evening, and to watch what she eats.
“The best thing to make a habit of is to take time and package meals for the next day so you will not be tempted to pick up fast food regularly,” Coward said.
All of these tips are easier said than done for some students. Having a favorite barbecue place around the corner or warming up a pizza in the oven often seems like the cheap and easy way to go, but it adds up.
“I’ve definitely eaten a lot more fast food since I began school,” said Jason Kelly, senior recreational parks and tourism sciences major. “I can also see a weight difference there.”
Getting used to a healthy lifestyle can be hard for students. Considering the tempting, cheap and greasy options, fruits and vegetables hardly sound appealing. However, health and fitness are important in a student’s life, and certainly outweigh the risks.