Whether your goal is fat loss, muscle gain or improving athletic performance, a huge barrier to eat¬ing correctly is time. With so much on our plate, it seems nearly impos¬sible to squeeze in a healthy diet. It’s easier to pick up fast food before class than to rise early and make an immense breakfast.
Maybe you think it’s too expen¬sive to eat healthily, and fast food is both a convenient and cheap alterna¬tive. Don’t be fooled into thinking that eating out is a frugal practice. It may seem like a great deal on an advertisement, but you’d save money buying something similar at the grocery store.
Transform your mindset. Hav¬ing a full – and fun – schedule and a healthy diet aren’t opposing objec¬tives. Here are a few general tips for the overly swamped student looking to eat better, with minimal extra effort.
All College Students
Problem – Not prepared. It’s easy to eat out because most students don’t have a clue where their next meal is coming from.
Solution – Take a few minutes at night to plan a quick breakfast like a shake, oatmeal or fruit. Make your own trail mix to snack on between classes. Having these ready to go makes it easy to bypass the alterna¬tive.
Problem – No routine
Solution – Stick with it and make it a habit. It may seem foreign to pack almonds and animal crack¬ers for a snack instead of grabbing a high calorie muffin or cookie, but becomes easy once it’s a part of the everyday routine.
Problem – Quick, low calorie options
Solution – Quick food doesn’t always mean high calories. Stock up on fruits, Greek yogurt, high-fiber bars, and almonds for nutrient rich snacks that combat hunger. There are even plenty of frozen lunch/ dinners that are moderately low in calories, while not ideal; these are a step up from most restaurant chains and just as quick.
Problem – Can’t gain weight. While working out is important to gain muscle, the other 23 hours of the day is crucial. It may seem like you “eat a lot,” but exercising for hours every day, on top of an already active lifestyle, results in high caloric needs.
Solution – Eat calorically dense foods.
Building muscle requires a surplus of calories, and although it may seem counterintuitive, eating “junk” can help reach that target. If you’re restricted to only fruits, vegetables and whole-grains weight gain without a debilitated stomach will be difficult. Make it easier by adding in foods like peanut butter, Pop-Tarts, ice cream and bagels. Don’t overdo it or else fat will accumulate like stress during finals. Take it slow, watch the mirror and scale aptly.