Proper Nutrition and College
As a kid we were all taught to follow the food pyramid. You need so many servings of this, so many servings of that and if you followed the pyramid you’d be super healthy! Yay!
Except, now that you’re in college and in charge of preparing your own meals, following the food pyramid can get really complicated. So what do you? How do you make sure you’re eating right? How do you make sure you’re eating foods that are good for you? What’s more—how do you make sure that you enjoy eating the foods that are good for you? That is a more complicated question than “do I rollover my 401(k)?”
Take a Cooking Class
More specifically, take a vegetarian cooking class (you can go vegan or even raw if you want to go to real extremes but for your current purposes a vegetarian class will work just fine). Put it on the credit card if you have to (just make sure it’s one of those fixed rate low interest credit cards so you don’t wind up accidentally paying for the class twice in interest fees). A cooking class is a great way to learn not just some great recipes but some gastronomy as well. Gastronomy is the science of why food behaves the way it does, which is important if you want to be able to cook properly.
Learn to Love Vegetarian Food
Why vegetarian? Because vegetarian food is better for you! You can use all of those great spring and summer veggies you’ve stocked up on but aren’t sure what to do with yet. Plus, once you know how to make great veggie snacks, you’ll be less likely to sprint to the 7-11 for Doritos when you’re hit with a snack craving. Plus, according to the USDA, most of the food you eat should be in fruit or veggie form.
Whole Grains Are Your Friends
A few years ago food made with whole grains was, frankly, often kind of gross. Now, though, you can find whole grain versions of food right next to their gluteny, processed white flour counterparts. Whole grain spaghetti noodles, for example, look a little different but actually taste better than the starchy stuff you grew up eating. Whole grains make up another major dietary requirement so working them in anywhere you can is important.
Proper Portion Sizes
If you’re older you probably remember a time when a three part meal (most likely a meat, a starch and a vegetable) didn’t completely fill up a dinner plate the size of a table. You had smaller plates and there was space between your foods. Over time we’ve increased our serving sizes to astronomical proportions. The truth is that a single serving of, say grains, is typically just one piece of wheat bread (from a small sized loaf, not from one of those big loaves). A cup of cooked cut up chicken is one serving, not a whole chicken breast.
The great thing about figuring out how to portion your food properly (you might need a food scale in the beginning) is that it is going to save you money. Smaller portions mean less food which means less money spent at the store!
It is going to take some time to figure out just how much your body truly needs of what. But don’t worry—you don’t have to be perfect right away!
“This is a guest post provided by Becky W.”