Here at Hilton Head Health we have a session called Healthy U that we hold for the college-aged guests in-house. It is a seminar-style discussion that allows guests to bring up topics of interest related to living a healthy lifestyle while attending college. With all the stress, parties, alcohol, buffet-style dining, and late night pizza orders, it can be very challenging to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
These are some points that we cover in the session that you may find helpful whether you’re in college, a recent graduate, a parent of a college student, or none of the above!
– There are healthy options available on all campuses you just have to find them i.e. salad bar, make your own sandwich bar, grilled chicken, etc.
– Try not to make dining halls social places. In other words, don’t make them a location to hang out with your friends.
– Look up nutritional information (if available) online before going out to eat that way you are not stuck making a decision without any guidelines. Typical college eateries that provide nutritional information include Panera, McDonalds, Chipotle, and Subway.
– Don’t be afraid to ask to customize your food—i.e. grilled chicken, broiled fish, steamed veggies, hold the dressing/croutons/cheese, less oil.
– Eat a salad as your first course. Be sure to get your dressing served on the side and hold off on extras such as bacon bits, cheese, and croutons.
-Drink water between bites and/or plates.
-Stock your dorm room/apartment with healthy snacks such as low fat yogurt, string cheese, snack-size popcorn bags, fresh fruits, baby carrots, etc. That way you will avoid the temptation of the lobby vending machine when traveling to and from classes.
-Designate time in your schedule for exercise as if it were a class
-Find an exercise buddy to help keep you accountable.
-Walk or bike around campus instead of taking the bus or driving.
-Read/study while riding the stationary bike.
-Join an intramural sports team – gather your friends and have fun! It is open to all fitness levels!
-Take advantage of the Group Fitness Classes at your school’s gym. It’s a great way to meet new people, and experience new types of exercise!
-Make room in your schedule each year to take a PE class.
-Get the proper amount of sleep! Try to schedule your studying so you don’t end up pulling any all-nighters.
-Establish a consistent sleeping/eating routine.
-For quiet time, find a place where you can retreat when you need to study, relax or even just get away.
-Cut back on the number of nights you drink and/or the number of drinks you have in one night.
-Choose drinks that are lower in sugar and fat grams.
– Alcohol will make any weight loss/maintenance effort nearly impossible. It lowers your inhibitions so you are more likely to choose unhealthy foods/portions, disrupts your sleep and drains you of your energy and motivation to exercise.
-Find activities on campus to enjoy other than parties or bars. Make it a movie night, venture to your local bowling alley or even revert back to your younger days and play games outside – capture the flag!