Healthy Eating Tips for College Students
- 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.
- 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 food has to be perfect, aim for balancing food intake over several days.
- Limit calories from beverages. Alcoholic drinks, coffee drinks, smoothies and juices are high in calories and can lead to weight gain. Consuming these drinks occasionally and in moderate amounts is the key to prevent adding pounds.
- 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 and fatigue.
Healthy Eating in the Dining Hall
- Choose baked or grilled entrees instead of fried items
- Eat more lean meat such as turkey, chicken, fish and less red meat such as beef, veal, and pork
- Select plain steamed vegetables instead of french fries or battered vegetables
- Choose fruit and yogurt for dessert instead of cakes and cookies
- Request sauces or gravies on the side and use them sparingly
- Choose broth or tomato based soups instead of cream soups
- Select mustard, hummus or vinaigrette in your sandwiches instead of oil and mayonnaise
- Fill 75% of your plate with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and 25% with meat and dairy
- Choose skim milk and low fat yogurt instead of whole milk and regular yogurt
- Opt for whole grains when available
- Practice portion control by not going for seconds and stop eating when you are not hungry anymore
Healthy Ideas for a Quick Breakfast
- 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)
- American Dietetic Association
- Calculate Your Body Mass Index
- Choose My Plate
- Nutrition Facts Label (Food Labeling)
- Other Nutrition Links
- Portion Distortion
- Food Addicts in recovery anonymous
- Online Screening Tool for Eating Disorder
- National Eating Disorders Association
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
How to Schedule an Appointment
Students enrolled in classes can arrange to meet with a registered dietitian to discuss their unique nutritional needs. An individual consultation can address your nutrition-related concerns such as healthy weight management, disordered eating or eating disorders, sports nutrition, special dietary needs including vegetarianism and food allergies/intolerances, general healthy eating and more.
To schedule an appointment please call Dial-A-Nurse at 773.508.8883 or schedule online by clicking here.
What should I expect at my initial visit with the dietitian?
You can expect a conversation about your current eating habits and how food fits into your life. Nutrition information seems to inundate us, but is not always accurate, and speaking with a registered dietitian is a reliable way to learn about nutrition and have your concerns addressed. The dietitian will need some background to help you with a plan to make healthy eating feel natural. Based on your specific needs and goals, follow-up consultations may be recommended.
How can I best prepare for my initial visit with the dietitian?
Give some thought to these questions, “What would you like to accomplish from meeting with the dietitian? Have you made dietary changes in the past? What has worked and what has not?” This is important if you have something in mind in addition to the reason your clinician is referring you. The more specific you can be, the more you will get out of the consultation.
What should I bring with me for my initial visit with the RD?
- Food journal: a 3-5 day food journal can be a great tool in helping get us started
- Medications you are currently taking
- Packages, labels or websites for any vitamins, minerals, protein powder, other nutrition supplements or herbs you are taking
What kind of services are provided for eating disorders?
We recognize the need for support surrounding issues of weight, body image and disordered eating for male and female students on our campus. Upon seeking Wellness Center services, you will be connected with an Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment (EDAT) team. The EDATT is a multidisciplinary team who provides individualized assessments, treatment recommendations, and referrals for students struggling with eating and weight concerns.
We find that working together using a coordinated approach provides students with the highest standard of care. LUC Wellness Center Staff base decision making and treatment recommendations on national standards of care for the treatment of eating disorders (American Psychiatric Association’s Level of Care Guidelines for Patients with Eating Disorders).
Multidisciplinary assessment and treatment is provided utilizing the expertise of mental health providers, medical providers and a registered dietician. Components of care provided by your EDAT team (when indicated) include: mental health and medical evaluation (including laboratory tests), brief-individual psychotherapy, nutrition consultation and meal planning, weight checks, case management and referrals to community providers. Should you be receiving components of your treatment outside of LUC’s Wellness Center, Wellness Center staff may request documentation of this treatment in order to collaborate with outside providers.
There are some situations where a student’s needs may be more intensive than the Wellness Center can provide. In those situations, your EDAT team will talk with you about your current symptoms, treatment recommendations and assist you in securing the most appropriate level of treatment to meet your needs.
How can I request a nutrition workshop or presentation?
For a nutrition workshop or presentation request, please email Lindsey Harrigan, Registered Dietitian, at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please provide at least a two week notice for your request.