Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Five simple steps to get your college diet on track


College is one of the most exciting times in our lives but it can also be one of the most demanding.

Students are faced with many challenges ranging from academic workload, social obligations and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regarding the latter task, what we fuel our bodies with has a major effect on our health.

The foods we eat have a dramatic influence on mood, energy and how our brains function. Here are some simple tips I use to maintain a healthy diet:

1. Healthy eating is not about restriction; it is about self-control. If you deprive yourself of all your favorite foods – like french fries or ice cream – you may be putting yourself at risk of overeating when you do indulge.

Reward yourself with these treats but remember that moderation is key. It is important to make overall healthy choices in your diet, no matter how small, every day.

2. Add more plant-based foods to your diet.

Remember this saying: “Grains, beans and greens!” Plant-based foods are full of fiber, which is a substance that benefits your health by keeping you full for longer and cleanses your digestive system.

A great way to limit your intake of animal products while increasing plant-based food consumption is to dub every Monday a “Meatless Monday.”

This self-pledge reduces your intake of meat, poultry, fish, dairy or eggs per week. If this proves too challenging, you can go with an even more gradual start by avoiding meat during at least one meal you normally consume animal products.

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet will make you feel stronger, increase your energy levels and provide your body with essential vitamins and antioxidants.

3. Get creative.

I hear many people complain about how they are tired of the same options at the dining hall. Being a vegan, I have especially been forced to use my creativity in choosing what’s for dinner with the limited options available.

Have you thought of adding hummus and brown rice to your salad? Hummus is a great alternative to a fat-packed dressing like ranch or Caesar. The iron content in hummus can also help boost your energy level, which could make you more motivated to hit the gym.

For your source of protein, try adding grilled chicken to your salad one day, tofu the following day and beans the next. Furthermore, ask the people who make sushi for a handful of avocado to add a healthy source of fat to your meal.

Mix things up and be open to trying new things. Be your own chef and create your own menu to fuel your body.

4. Educate yourself about the food you eat and why eating healthier is good for your overall well-being. A great way to start this research is by visiting the nutrition advisors at the University of Massachusetts Campus Recreation Center.

Individual appointments can be made to discuss healthy eating strategies free of charge. You can email [email protected] to make an appointment with one of its knowledgeable nutrition advisors.

5. Finally, a healthy life is about being kind to yourself. Remember that you are doing the best you can and no one is perfect.

It is impossible to create a healthy relationship with food if you are having negative thoughts about your body or while eating. Practice self-love and self-compassion. You have the power to create a healthy life for yourself.

You only get one life to create healthy habits − food is medicine and your health is your wealth. Today is the day to work toward creating a healthy relationship with food.

Haley Harzynski can be reached at [email protected].

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • V

    VirginiaMar 3, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Great article!!