Healthy eating with The Spectrum
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 21:01
College is hard, but eating healthy is harder.
It might feel easier to grab some quick and inexpensive fast food. Sure, working out is great – lift those weights, jump on your elliptical, dance your butt off at those Zumba classes. It’s great that you’re getting on your gym grind, but nothing will make you feel as amazing as a healthy diet.
I should say, as The Spectrum’s health columnist, that I eat healthy food 365 days a year. But that simply isn’t true. I love eating food that’s bad for you. But the majority of the time, I try to stick to healthy eating and snacking.
Thanks to a little help from my mother, my own knowledge and a little bit of research, I have a list of some healthy foods and snacking tips that will have you feeling less like a sloth and more like the Energizer Bunny.
I try to live by the rule, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a peasant.” When you front-load your meals in the morning, you’re able to burn off the calories throughout the day.
In the morning, I like to eat toast with peanut butter on it. You may think peanut butter isn’t good for you, but two tablespoons of peanut butter has 3.3 grams of saturated fat and 12.3 grams of unsaturated fat, according to health.harvard.edu. Some saturated fat (the unhealthy kind) is OK in moderation. Also keep in mind, numerous studies have shown people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who hardly eat nuts.
An apple is also one of my all-time favorite snacks to grab and take with me to school. Apples contain vitamin C, can prevent heart disease, protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and even clean out your mouth – the juice from an apple has properties that can kill up to 80 percent of bacteria in the mouth, according to succeedwiththis.com.
Although it’s not a snack, I love raw spinach as a replacement for lettuce in my salads, subs and whatever else you can add lettuce to. Spinach is a superfood that boasts high protein content – the highest vegetable protein content around, according to kitchenstewardship.com. It also contains a large amount of vitamin A, vitamin K, fiber and folic acid. The best part is that spinach tastes so much better than iceberg lettuce and is a more filling substitute.
Eggs are also a great way to get protein in your diet. Eggs can lower the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration, thanks to nutrients called lutein and zeaxanthin, according to healthdiaries.com. One egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein and all nine essential amino acids, 5 grams of healthy unsaturated fat and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. Eggs are also one of the only foods that contain natural vitamin D. Whether you like your eggs scrambled, over-easy or hard-boiled, they are awesome.
Walnuts and almonds are also good snacks you can easily pack. Almonds can be credited with helping to control healthy cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and they even contain vitamin E, which can help in cancer prevention, according to livestrong.com
Womenshealthmag.com lists walnuts as one of the best nuts out there, with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids (like in salmon) and polyunsaturated fat, which can help protect against type 2 diabetes.
But the best thing you can give your body is plenty of water; eight glasses a day is the recommended amount. While it might seem like a lot to drink in one day, try grabbing a water bottle and sipping often throughout the day; that makes it easier to drink so much. Water maintains body fluids, body temperature, clears your skin, energizes muscles and helps maintain normal bowel functions. So keep on drinking and you’ll see major results.
These foods are only a few of my favorite things to include in a healthy diet. It may seem easier to reach for fried and greasy food but small steps are a good way to start. There’s no need to give up your guilty pleasures cold turkey, but using a few of these foods and some other healthy foods you discover on your own will have you looking and feeling good in no time.