Looking forward to my freshman year here at SDSU, I was initially a little perplexed as to whether or not the good practices I have developed over the past few years could persist. I thought it was going to be difficult to maintain healthy habits in a new place with a new schedule, but I've actually been surprised by how easy it's been. Here are my tips for how to stay healthy in college...physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
1. Track down healthy food options.
Eating healthily is important in general for overall well-being, but especially in college, when you're constantly working, moving, and flexing that brain muscle, getting adequate nutrients becomes essential for optimal functioning.
Find which places on campus, such as dining halls or restaurants, have healthy options like fresh produce and protein options and utilize these places to build simple meals. Making sure that your meals are simple yet substantial means including good carbs such as grains and vegetables, proteins, and fats. For example, I built the simple bowl pictured above using greens, roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, zucchini, and chicken, all from the dining hall.
Another way to make sure you're eating healthily in college is to track down the best places to get healthy snacks. Snacks are so, so, so important to keep you energized and focused throughout the day, so check out places on campus such as convenience stores, coffee shops, and markets to see what natural and nutrient-dense snacks are available to you. My go-to healthy snacks lately have been roasted chickpeas, kale chips, Perfect bars, and Health-Ade kombucha. If there aren't that many healthy options on campus, see what grocery stores or markets are located close to campus so that you can pick up a few things every now and then to keep stocked up in your dorm.
2. Move in whatever way that you want to/can.While it may seem like college can be pretty hectic between classes and homework and extracurricular activities and work, moving in a way that works for you is an extremely important way to stay healthy physically--and happy mentally. There is no one way to move, so figure out what works for you and your schedule, what makes you feel best, and what makes you feel empowered.
Try out classes at the campus gym, go for a run, practice some outdoor yoga, join intramural sports, or simply go for a relaxing walk. Whichever way it is that you enjoy moving, set aside time for yourself each day to engage in that activity. I've personally found that my mornings at the gym boost my energy and mood before classes and generally lead to a much more productive day.
3. Find a hobby and engage in it weekly.College can be very demanding at times, but doing things that make you happy every single week can really reduce stress levels and make those long reading assignments and essays less draining. It can be as simple as writing, reading, hiking, listening to new music, or finding inspiration on Pinterest; pursue whatever it is that you truly enjoy and allow yourself to enjoy it.
I personally struggle with this a lot, because I have the mentality that "work is play" and often forget how much of the day has been taken up by schoolwork until the day is almost over! So even though school is always a priority, you are also a priority and deserve to have a few blissful moments every day. Sometimes some ‘booch and some Netflix is all I need for a relaxing night after a long day of school work!
4. Get involved in a club!Feeling alone in college is a seriously sucky feeling, so try to branch out and make those connections that can make you feel more integrated on campus. The majority of you reading this are most likely already members of Student Nutrition Organization...which is awesome! I encourage those of you who are to treat the club not just as a club, but also as an opportunity to get involved and get out of your comfort zone. You can also try something you've never tried before, or join a club that relates to something you're already extremely passionate about. Whatever the case, clubs are a great way to relate to like-minded people and establish new friendships, as well as to do activities that feed your soul. I just recently joined SNO...so who knows, I might meet some other kale-loving kiddos to nerd out about nutrition with!
5. Sleep, sleep, SLEEP!It took me soooo long to actually start sleeping. Six months ago, five hours of sleep would have been the norm. Now I'm averaging eight hours per night and thank goodness I made that transition!
Sleep is a vital part of storing and processing the information that you received during the daytime, so if you're only getting four, five, or six hours of sleep a night, those eight hours of studying may have gone to waste. Sleep is also when essential hormones, such as growth hormone, are released to keep your endocrine system running effectively, so if you're depriving yourself of sleep, your hormones can become imbalanced and nobody wants that! Additionally, if you are sleep deprived, your body will produce cortisol, which is a stress-inducing hormone which has all kind of negative side effects (including loss of the menstrual cycle, for all ma lady friends out there).
Aside from the scientific reasons behind getting adequate sleep, let's face it, being well-rested just makes for an overall better day! Sleeping well keeps your energy levels, mood, and metabolism in check so that you can function optimally without crashing or crying or all of the above (been there, done that wayyy too many times). Try to aim for 7-10 hours of sleep per night. Personally, eight is my "happy" spot. It also helps to establish a routine bedtime and wake-up time so that your internal clock stays on track.
I hope you found my list of five ways to stay healthy in college helpful for discovering what works for you in this new phase of life! College is an extremely exciting time where you can study what you're passionate about, explore new places, and make connections that can last a lifetime, so remember to take extremely good care of yourself so that you can fully enjoy everything that college has to offer.
Freshman at SDSU. Foods and Nutrition Major.
I’ve never been good at introductions, which is tough, because first impressions are almost impossible to shake once they’re made. Did you know it usually takes about 7 seconds to make a first impression? And a tenth of a second to make an assumption based on appearance? So, I’ll make this brief: My name is Oona, I’m a third year student here at SDSU and I’m a Foods & Nutrition major. I love working with people and food, and hate doing anything half-way. I hope this tendency will serve me well when I’m shoved into the scary adult world after college.
That introduction probably took about seven seconds to read, and hopefully if you’re following the SNO blog, you know what I look like, which, by the way, accounts for about 55% of your first impression of me, according to a communications study done at Harvard.
Here are three tips I’ve found and gathered from 20 years of experience, (not that I was shaking hands with potential employers at the ripe age of zero, but you get the idea) that I think are important to keep in mind when interviewing for a job:
I hope you enjoyed this little blog post. Come back next week; I’ll be posting a blog post or a recipe every Saturday! I’m excited to share ideas, advice, food obsessions, workouts, current events, pop culture, and everything in between (all relating to nutrition, except this one, which is more career oriented). Some posts will be light-hearted and short like this one, but I also want to touch on some serious topics like mental health/holistic health that I think are extremely important. I’m super pumped to have a creative outlet that gives me the opportunity to talk about my passion for food and nutrition, and I hope you all enjoy reading it!
P.S. I’m vegan so look out for some dank plant-based recipes and knowledge!!
My name is Kacey and I’m a freshman here at SDSU majoring in Nutrition. I’m SNO excited to be a blogger for this organization (prepare yourself for plenty of puns).
Nutrition is not just my major. It is also my passion. I am a dedicated long distance runner, so I strongly believe that what you put inside of your body helps you to get the most out of it. I’ve spent the past few years independently learning--through lots of research, lots of reading, and lots of trial and error--just how amazing the human body is and the ways in which we can take care of it. What I discovered from my investigation is that being healthy is not a complicated mystery at all. In fact, it’s really quite simple; eat what makes you feel good, move in a way that empowers you, focus on what ignites your passion, and be around those who enhance your life. What a relief!
That being said, I try to use my nutrition knowledge, which is expanding each day, to advocate for holistic health and natural wellness methods, and to empower those who are typically disempowered by the media and the wellness industry. I believe that ingredients matter more than calories, that how you feel matters more than how you look, and that you can have health at any and every shape, size, color, age, and gender.
So be ready for lots of good eats, tidbits of inspiration and information, and plenty of produce puns. I’m thrilled to be KALE-laborating with SNO and can’t wait to see what this year has in store!
ABOUT THE SNO BLOG:
The goal of this blog is to present nutrition facts and advice in a fun and interesting way! We want to get our members involved in a healthy lifestyle as well as share articles that shine a light on nutrition and health.