- Eating breakfast improves your mood and energy level for the day. It also improves your memory, concentration, and problem solving skills. Contrary to popular belief eating breakfast does not lead to weight gain; instead it prevents overeating at lunch and dinner times. If you are not a breakfast person, try to bring a snack high in protein for mid-morning to prevent feelings of extreme hunger by lunch time.
- Drink caffeine in moderation. Too much caffeine can increase heart rate, cause irritability, restlessness, headaches, difficulty sleeping and anxiety. A reasonable amount of caffeine for a day is 300 mg, which is equivalent to two cups of coffee. If you are using caffeine to stay energized, you may also want to look at your sleeping and eating habits. A balanced diet with appropriate meal/snack composition can help maintain energy levels throughout the day and prevent the afternoon crash.
- Plan for snacks and meals every three to five hours. This will prevent overeating and eating unhealthy foods. Meal and snack planning must be a priority to avoid grazing throughout the day, particularly for busy college students with hectic schedules. Grazing does not satisfy hunger and will make you overly hungry by the end of the day and lead to overeating and craving unhealthy foods. Try to have a snack consisting of hearth healthy fat, protein and fruit/vegetable to help maintain blood sugar levels.
- Balance your food choices over time. If you miss a food group one day, make up for it the next day. If you eat a portion of a food high in fat, salt or sugar at a meal, compliment it with some sides that are low in these. Not every meal/snack has to be perfect – but do aim for balancing food intake over several days.
- Limit calories from beverages. Alcoholic drinks, coffee drinks, smoothies and juices are high in sugar and calories which can lead to weight gain. Consider size and frequency of these types of beverages and aim to limit.
- Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Exercise helps to reduce stress, maintain weight, sleep better, and boost energy level.
- Hydrate throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Aim for half your weight in ounces. Adequate water consumption prevents water retention, constipation, dehydration, headaches and fatigue.
Quick Guide to Portions:
The registered dietitian can help students who have meal plans navigate dining choices and give them tips tailored to their specific needs and diet.
- English muffin, peanut butter, banana, 8 oz skim/soy milk
- 1 oz. whole grain, low sugar cereal with skim/soy milk and a banana
- English muffin, 1 oz. melted mozzarella cheese or 1/2 cup cottage cheese, fruit
- 2 Hard boiled eggs, toast and fruit
- Instant oatmeal, scoop peanut butter, banana, 8 oz. skim/soy milk
- Banana with peanut butter, 8 oz skim/soy milk
- Greek yogurt, fruit
- Smoothie – greek yogurt or choice of milk (remember almond milk typically does not deliver adequate protein), fruit, ice (add nut butter or chia seeds to increase protein)
Check out this Video!: Overnight Oats
See a sample grocery list below for shopping ideas from our dietitian!