College 20 (Not the pounds!)

First and foremost, this post is inspired by a good friend of mine, Emily. We were eating dinner in the cafeteria, analyzing the food on our plates, when she suggested I write a post on staying healthy on a school meal plan. 
Thank you for the inspiration Emily! **scroll to the bottom of this post to check out a project of her’s!**
College is a stressful time in itself. Between courses, due dates, tests and papers, the last thing we want to is worry about putting on weight. 

After being here at Whitworth for 3 1/2 months (time flies!), I’ve learned a few really useful tactics when it comes to staying healthy in college. So I’ll just cut to the chase and share some:

In the cafeteria
1. Avoid starchy foods. The truth is that you’ll just feel better when walking past the calorie-laden pasta, biscuits and gravy, and mashed potatoes.
2. Take advantage of the salad bar. If you don’t want to stick to the typical lettuce-carrot-dressing salad-(I don’t blame you)- switch it up. Use a bed of lettuce/spinach/greens and add stuff from different stations to make your salad more appetizing. 
3. Watch the proportions. It’s too easy to request another scoop of food, and it’s easy to refrain as well. Go with the latter.
4. Mix and match. Inevitably, you’re going to get tired of the habitual meals. Try different stations, different meals. There’s no problem with expanding your horizons, and it should be done on a meal plan.
5. Typically pass on the soups. OK, this is a special one. If you live in the sunshine year round, it won’t be too hard to refrain from the hot foods. But, if you find yourself with snow laden hair and purple hands, a salad isn’t going to cut it. Just be conscious about the choice. Soup is FULL of sodium, which will bloat you up like none other. I would go for the coffee to warm up, and enjoy some whole wheat toast with PB.
6. Take advantage of fruit section. Uhm, yeah. Do it. Produce=delicious. 
7. Just gaze at the desserts. Weird, but I do it a lot. I like to see what they have offered, because (no offense intended!) the choices usually aren’t irresistible.
8. Eat eggs. Eggs=protein. Eggs=brain food. Eggs=smart grades. Also, they make for a great breakfast, with oatmeal of course!
9. Oatmeal. Don’t just stick to the brown sugar and raisins. Add some PB and banana, or yogurt and fruit. Mmmm.
10. Drink nonfat milk. If your school has it, go for it. I find myself drinking a lot of chocolate milk, so mixing the pre-made with some NF milk fills me up smartly.

In the dorm
1. Keep substantial food on your shelf. It’s not something you realize until you need it. I’ve found myself in a crisis when I miss dinner hours and I need protein. I try to always stay stocked on tuna packets, eggs, and cheese sticks. Soup is a great buy too (the low sodium kind!)
2. Invest in some pans. Um, it’s smart. You’ll need to cook at least once, and it won’t hurt you to have one on hand. (Not necessary really, unless you are like me and literally go through cooking withdrawals… It’s a thing! :/ )
3. Always keep fruit in your room. Yes, produce is good. :)
4. Go grocery shopping. And keep a list so you don’t reach for the Pop Tarts….. #typicalcollegemove
5. Keep oatmeal in the room. Guys, I love oatmeal. And I hope you do too.
In general
1. Drink water.
2. Keep your room clean. Clean room >> clean mind >> not stressed >> no stress eating (thumbs up emoji) 
3. Have dark chocolate/chocolate PB2 at hand. It’s great for a late night snack/sweet tooth killer/study snack.
4. Keep busy. See #2!
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We know college is stressful, don’t worry about the food aspect more than you need to.
Oh, and exercise is great too…….

Congrats on getting to the end of this post! And now, this….

Emily was working on this painting today, and did SUCH a great job on it. What an artist right!?
I wanted to include it in this post because she worked so hard on it and it turned out really well! 

Thank you for the inspiration for this post and the beautiful painting, Emily!


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