Tips for Staying Healthy as a Student
Plan your meals/snacks to help save time throughout the week.
Buy healthful snacks that you can take with you when you will be out for a long day, like nuts or fruit. Make a plan of all of your meals and snacks for the week. Make a grocery list and shop from this list. This type of meal planning will save you time and money.
Eat On A Schedule
Have 3 meals and 1-2 snacks (Yes, breakfast is important! Keep fruit or nuts around, if needed, to jump-start your day.). Eating 1-2 large meals daily rather than several small meals throughout the day decreases attention and is bad for your metabolism. If you are overly hungry (by only eating 1 large meal), it is much more difficult to make good choices and stick to your plan. Research shows that people who eat regular meals and snacks make more healthful choices, including eating more fruits and veggies.
Many students, due to their busy schedules, are lacking fruits and veggies (a huge source of fiber). Fruits and veggies are not only the best source of antioxidants (keeping your brain in tip-top shape for school), but also are rich in fiber and low in calories which keeps you full on a low calorie budget. Make sure you get your 5-9 servings daily!
Limit calories from beverages (coffee, tea, soda, lemonade, etc.). Staying hydrated can help your concentration and keep you from overeating. It also replenishes your body and gives you more energy throughout the day. Though caffeinated beverages like soda and energy drinks can be beneficial when studying or doing late-night homework, they are ultimately harmful in the long run. The combination of caffeine and sugar in these drinks causes you to crash and feel bad later. Always choose water instead of soda, and keep water with you for easy access. Also, to cut down on the cost, buy a water filtration pitcher and a re-usable water bottle instead of plastic bottled water.
Remember, small attainable steps. Fitting exercise into a busy college schedule can be difficult, but there are many options for quick and simple exercises that can be done at home or in everyday activities. Watching TV? Do it while running in place! Going to the grocery store? Park in a further spot. Many options exist – set a schedule and make it a priority.
Get Enough Sleep
Though you may be tempted to pull an all-nighter to study for an exam or stay out until 3 a.m. partying with friends, make sure you don't make that a habit. Sleep deprivation can lead to reduced brain function, fatigue, headaches and weight loss or gain. College students need between seven and nine hours of sleep and getting this amount can improve overall health. To stay rested throughout the day, try taking a short nap during the day, try to stick to a schedule, try to keep your room dark and quiet before bedtime and avoid drinking caffeine, eating and drinking right before bed.
Everyone has heard the many life-threatening risks smoking poses, and even smoking occasionally can still put you at risk for ailments like lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema. For those looking to quit, check out programs to assist you in your goals.
College students are usually pretty stressed with classes and exams, but relaxing and having down-time is essential to staying healthy. Stress can cause numerous problems and getting too run-down can adversely affect your health. The easiest way to relax is to create a routine and give yourself regular breaks. Also, make sure you make time to hang out with friends and de-stress by reading a book, watching your favorite television show or picking up a hobby.
Wash Your Hands
With flu season just around the corner, washing your hands can be a savior for college students who can't afford to miss class because of the flu. Students are always in close contact with others: through classes, living situations with roommates, and it is very easy to catch colds or viruses. Studies have shown that simple hand-washing can help prevent a large number of illnesses. Wash your hands before meals, any time you will be touching your eyes, nose or mouth, or if you've been around others who are sick.
Meadow, Nicole, MPN, RD. "5 Tips to Staying Healthy as a Student - Honest Nutrition - Honestly... The Honest Company Blog." Honestly... The Honest Company Blog. The Honest Company, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.
Smith, Kristian. "10 Tips to Stay Healthy in College." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 May 2011. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.