As another winter break ends, a new semester brings along another chance at keeping those New Year’s resolutions such as bringing up your GPA, getting rid of that procrastination habit and finally making a conscious effort to stay healthy. For many, the beginning of February is when those resolutions begin to fall through and, as students, that can be especially true with the return of problem sets, readings and essays. However, there are some easy ways to keep on track with your health goals, especially if there is no time to meal prep or cooking for yourself.
Stop Drinking Calories
One of the easiest ways to consume a lot of calories without gaining any nutrition is through drinking high-calorie beverages. Soda and juice are full of sugar and will ensure that your plans to stay healthy will fall through. Try to minimize consumption of sugary drinks and drink water instead. Coffee, while essential to many students, can be deadly to your resolution when filled with packets of sugar and heavy creamers. While it may be impossible to cut the much-needed caffeine boost out of your life completely, be careful how much sugar and fat you add to it. Additionally, avoid ordering the lattes, mochas and holiday drinks at the on-campus Starbucks or Café Jennie, which are already full of high-calorie syrups.
Eat the Rainbow
Eating the rainbow means that your plate of food consists of more than two colors. A variety of color often implies a variety of nutrients. For example, to get green on your plate you might be forced to get a salad. To get red, you may have to include apples, strawberries, tomatoes and other fruits. Generally if you stick to one or two colors, you will end up forgetting essential nutrients. By eating the rainbow, people generally end up filling up on nutrient-rich foods rather than neglecting essential vitamins and minerals. Make sure that these foods are naturally colored; a bag of Cheetos from Bear Necessities may add a color, but it does not necessarily add any nutrients.
Snacking is not necessarily an unhealthy habit. In fact, it can help your goal of being healthy rather than hurt it, especially if you choose the right snacks. Rather than picking up a bag of chips or a package of cookies, grabbing snacks such as fruit, yogurt or hummus can fill you up while providing more nutrients, not to mention they are in stock in just about every location Cornell sells food. Stocking up on snacks like nuts, dried fruits and whole-grain crackers to snack on while studying can eliminate the temptation of buying your favorite high-calorie cookies.
Switch Out White Bread
Waking up at 9:40 a.m. for a 10 a.m. lecture is a dangerous game, but it’s a thrill that we all participate in. Finding time to get breakfast in that 20-minute window and running to class is difficult, and in the end, some of us grab something like a piece of white toast (if we don’t opt to skip breakfast altogether). First off, skipping breakfast is highly inadvisable; it is the meal that fuels us for the rest of the day and is essential to a healthy routine. The slice of white bread is not a bad option, but it can be improved by simply switching to something such as whole wheat bread. In comparison, whole wheat anything is generally more nutritious as the whole grain flour used in whole wheat bread is more fibrous than refined flour used in white bread. A similar thing can be done with rice by switching our white rice for brown. Making little substitutions can make big differences, especially if it is every day.
Eat in Moderation
Don’t ever eliminate your favorite food from your menu. Banning your favorite foods will not only be disappointing in the short run, but it may ultimately be detrimental in the long run. The temptation to eat something completely bad for you may break your resolutions, and at that point, your health streak may be unsalvageable. Instead, eat your favorite foods in moderation. If you spot something you want in one of the dining halls, don’t be afraid to grab a little, and remember it will most likely show up again another day.