As college students, sometimes dieting takes a backseat. Moriah Anderson, a dietician at North Dakota State’s Student Health Services, has some ways to keep students in top shape, with the best diet.
Anderson recommended that at meals students try to prepare a plate that is half full of fruits and vegetables, about a quarter protein and a quarter grains. Of those grains, half should be whole. Additionally, students should be incorporating dairy into their diet as well.
For students that rely on the dining centers, Anderson recommended always taking the vegetable option and frequently swapping out a more carbohydrate and fat dense meal for a salad. Anderson also noted that the salad bars in the dining centers typically have fresh fruit, which includes melons, berries, mango and more if students are tired of bananas and apples.
When it comes to fast food, Anderson recommended Chopped in the basement of Memorial Union. Chopped offers salads and has punch cards, which you can redeem for a free salad after a few visits.
Coffee shops also offer a good variety of cheese and crackers and sandwich options. For a fuller meal option, Anderson recommended Qdoba or Chipotle if students stick to a burrito bowl and only eat about half. Options for these restaurants can lean heavily on the vegetables, but try to skip the queso and chips.
“Usually, wherever you go eat you can find healthier options,” Anderson said. “Trying to still get vegetables when you’re eating out, picking the non-deep-fried options and skipping the pop and having water instead, and only eating half of your meal, are easy ways to get less calories while eating out but still being able to go out for meals.”
When it comes to snacking between classes, Anderson recommended apples and peanut butter or almond butter, vegetables and hummus or chips and guacamole. She said students should generally stick to things with protein, healthy fat and some carbohydrates.
Cheap options that still make sure students are getting a complete diet include frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Anderson also recommended beans as a cheap source of protein. Also, switching to water and skipping the soda helps your wallet and your overall health.
Some of the biggest mistakes students make, according to Anderson, are thinking they can’t afford to eat healthier, thinking they do not have time to prepare a meal and the “Treat Yourself Theory.”
“I am all for indulging on your favorite foods, but when you treat yourself after every stressful week or every good exam score it can turn into more than once or twice a month,” Anderson said. “This can cause problems as you usually aren’t treating yourself with a carrot, but most likely with high-calorie type foods.”