Snack Smarter and Fresher
Resist the temptation to indulge in packaged snacks that lack nutrients such as potato chips, cheese puffs, Twinkies, Pop-Tarts and more. There's a reason foods such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are staples of the American diet: They are simple and filling.
A classic PB&J (or peanut butter and banana with honey) on whole-wheat bread has craving-curbing protein, healthy fats and slow-digesting carbs that help dampen blood sugar spikes. Other great snacks include plain yogurt with fruit, oatmeal, fruits, whole-grain cereals, rice cakes, low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat cheese wrapped in deli meat. If needed, get a mini-fridge to keep healthy staples like these handy.
Exercise with Your Friends or Pick up a New Sport
Working out is better when you're with friends and can encourage each other. Research shows it's easier to exercise and eat better if your friends are doing the same things. On the contrary, the reverse is also true.
Be the master of your own health and invite your friends to work out and eat good food together so you can all build healthy habits. If it's your first year on campus and you haven't met many people yet, try joining an intramural sports team, as this can be a great opportunity to meet new friends.
...Or Exercise on Your Own
Sometimes, you just can't wait for other people, and with a newfound freedom to do whatever they please, college students may find it hard to commit to regular exercise and physical activity. This may mean you need to go to the athletic center or bike around campus by yourself and exercise solo several times a week. If your friends aren't willing to tag along, set up a workout schedule each week and hold yourself accountable.
Prepare for Stress
Stress can create a domino effect on your energy levels. Whether it's your drinking, eating or sleeping habits, stress can negatively affect your lifestyle. In the first year of college, you may find yourself more stressed than you've ever been before, so be prepared.
When stress hits, talk about your issues with your friends or speak to your parents. If needed, find a college counselor or an old mentor you can trust and talk with regularly. The less stress you encounter on a daily basis, the less likely you'll be to develop poor health habits. Plus, your mind will be clearer and your grades may be higher as a result.