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College Student Diet

Healthy diet

Written by Courtney Ball

Courtney Ball is an MHV intern and junior at the University of Richmond studying Psychology and Spanish.

April 11, 2024

As a college student, juggling classes, assignments, and social life can often lead to neglecting one crucial aspect of your well-being: your diet. But maintaining a healthy diet is essential for fueling your body and mind, especially during the push towards finals and end of semester. What you eat can help or hinder your mental health. Eating right helps you stay focused, energized, and ready to tackle your academic challenges. 

There is a connection between the gut and the brain. Having mental health struggles can impact your gastrointestinal symptoms. For example, stress can give you stomach pain and discomfort. Help manage your stress or other feelings by taking a step back and making sure you eat something. At the same time, eating well gives your body energy, and can boost your mental health, both of which can help you get through the day. 

Here are some tips to help you eat healthily and sustainably while navigating the demands of college life:

  1. Prioritize Balanced Meals: Aim for meals that include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. This balance ensures you get a variety of nutrients necessary for your overall health and well-being.
  2. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks: Keep nutritious snacks like fruits, nuts, yogurt, whole-grain crackers, and hummus on hand. These snacks can help curb hunger between meals and prevent you from reaching for unhealthy options like chips or sugary snacks.
  3. Make Smart Choices in the Dining Hall: When dining on campus, try and aim for this balanced meal that was mentioned above. Try to avoid fried foods and excess sugar. Most dining halls offer a variety of options, so take advantage of the healthier choices available. Now that we have this freedom of picking whatever we want to eat, make sure you do so responsibly with your health in mind!
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased cognitive function, making it harder to focus and concentrate in class.
  5. Limit Sugary and Caffeinated Beverages: While it may be tempting to rely on energy drinks, soda, or sugary coffee drinks to get through long school days or study sessions, these beverages can lead to energy crashes and negatively impact your health in the long run. Try for more water, tea, or black coffee instead.
  6. Get Creative with Cooking: If you have access to a kitchen, experiment with cooking your meals. Not only is cooking at home typically healthier and more cost-effective than dining out, but it can also be a fun way to unwind, de-stress and spend time with friends!
  7. Seek Support: If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy diet or do not know how to achieve your diet goals, many colleges offer resources such as nutrition counseling services that can help you navigate your diet. 

 By making mindful food choices and prioritizing your health, you can fuel your body and mind for success as a college student. For more information on how to take care of your gut health please visit: 

https://mhanational.org/fitness-4mind4body-gut-brain-connection

https://share.upmc.com/2019/04/healthy-diets-college-students/

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