Eating is definitely one of the greatest pleasures in life, but we should never forget it is also the main key to a healthy life. I indeed forgot about this little detail when I moved away from home, and learned the hard way; gaining sixty pounds and getting very sick!
Indeed the pleasure of eating cup ramen every lunch, mac n' cheese every night and McDonalds everytime you feel like sounds glorious to some, and it is sometimes the easiest way to feed ourselves on the go. But making it a habit without realizing its consequences might be one of the most foolish things you can do while adapting to a life away from home, away from mom and grandma.
It is important to know nutrition basics, and I have to say, I am no nutritionist so I will only share what my doctors told me. And hopefully you won't have to get sick to start having some healthy and good habits. First of all, weight and figure is not the only reason why we should eat healthy. As full time students we need to always keep a good energy level and good health so we can survive long days of classes, and homework.
So here are the basic tips that were given to me:
- Eat vegetables. Make sure vegetables cover at least half of your plate. Vegetables are low in calories, can be extremely delicious if you learn a couple of ways to cook them with the spices you like. Also try to buy them fresh since some vegetables loose some of their benefits if they're not fresh.
- Eat at least two small fruits or a cup of cut fruit a day, between meals. Whenever you think your body is craving sugar it would actually be best if you eat fruit. Fruit have a bunch of vitamins, and help your body stay healthy but too many will not cover all of your dietary needs.
- And here's one of the hardest for me! Avoid sugars, either reduce them drastically or if you're brave enough avoid them completely. Our body does not need fructose corn syrup or white sugar believe it or not. And it is one of the main ways in which we can harm our liver, and other organs that are not ready for it. (That's what happened to me ;( ) What I do now is I don't eat pastries, but once a week if any.
- Make sure that at least a quarter of your plate is protein! Even if you are a vegetarian it's important to keep this proportion in your diet. You can eat grains high in protein, tofu or if you do eat meat just make sure you have protein regularly.
- Drink water! There are different number of glasses different doctors and nutriotionists recommend, but just make sure you have at least six glasses a day even when you are not working out. It help with circulation and digestion.
- Remember alcohol is a sugar! It has a lot of calories and definitely affects your liver. Drink moderately, to make sure you will be able to enjoy it longer and in a healthier way.
- Always keep apples or other small fruits in my backpack so I don't get hungry and eat chips or cookies. So I eat something healthy, but still eat when I'm hungry.
- Leave beans already cooked to just warm up if I don't have time to cook every night.
- Keep healthy snacks like granola bars, dry fruits, etc... at home all the time.
- Pick healthy frozen food options. They're not the best, but if you choose ahead of time knowing that you won't be able to cook every day is better than getting greasy and unhealthy options.
- Leave some meats marinated or prepared just for you to cook so it's not time consuming, but it is still fresh and yummy!