GUEST BLOGGER: SOPHIA BERCOW, UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
Healthy eating is likely a goal for every college student, but let’s be real: it’s not what every college student is actually doing.
Junk food is cheaper, easier and faster. It’s also just more accessible. I can’t even name the number of times I’ve come home from a long day on campus just to throw in some top ramen for the 12th night in a row. It’s a matter of convenience, really.
Well, since it’s still the start of a new year, I’m sure we’ve all heard (and probably already failed) the new year resolutions that all tend to revolve around eating healthy and working out.
I know they’ve probably already failed because, well, that was me and… hello, I had a whole pizza last night. Here’s the thing, though. You don’t have to embark on some crazy crash diet that asks you to cut out everything fun in life in order to eat healthy.
When I got back to school after winter break this year, one of my friends and I decided to try the Whole30 diet. If you’ve never heard of it, essentially it has you cut out grains, dairy, sugar and alcohol for 30 days. Apparently, at the end of the time period, you’re supposed to feel detoxed and totally refreshed.
I can tell you that at the end of week one, my friend and I were actually miserable. I agree that cutting sugar and alcohol from my diet for a bit is probably a good idea (and it’s something I’ve still been keeping up with!), but there are ways to incorporate grains and dairy into your diet without eating something unhealthy. Yogurt is packed with probiotics to promote gut health and there are tons of healthy whole grains packed full of fiber and nutrients.
What this diet did teach me, though, is that cooking healthily is actually easy, and it can be really fun. I learned to start meal prepping and also learned about alternatives to oils and other fats that contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. Most importantly, I realized that cooking doesn’t have to be such a chore.
It’s important at this stage in our lives to start forming healthy habits both in and out of the kitchen because this is the best shape our bodies will ever be in (and that’s really saying something). As we get older, there will be less of a chance that we start breaking unhealthy habits because there will be less motivation to do so. I promise, our bodies will thank us later if we treat them right now.
So, my dear college friends reading this, I challenge you to try a new healthy recipe this week. Don’t – I repeat, DON’T put ramen on the stove and don’t order Domino’s - actually cook something that will make you feel good. Chicken and veggies on a sheet pan takes 25 minutes in the oven. You can do this.
Have a favorite recipe or tip for eating healthy on a busy, unpredictable schedule? Let us know: @ch_threads