Health food

How to Eat Healthy as a Student

Health food [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
As a nursing student, you would think that all of my classmates would always eat only the most healthy foods. But you would be surprised! Nurses (and nursing students) are people just like everyone else, and just like everyone else it is hard to avoid the convenience of unhealthy fast food. Especially with going to class, writing papers, and studying for exams, it is hard to even find the time to eat healthy.

But I know that if I do not eat right, it might save me time in the moment, but in the long run I am really hurting myself. To put it the other way, eating right will make me live longer, it will give me more energy, and it will make me a happier person.

And who doesn’t want to be happy?

So, here are some ways that I have found to be a student with a healthy diet.

Plan Ahead

The biggest challenge in eating healthy is having something ready when I want to eat. If I don’t have anything prepared, it is far too easy to just grab the closest hamburger, milkshake, or candy bar. When I am in the moment, I am much less likely to make a good decision.

Because of this, it is very important to plan ahead for what I am going to eat. At the beginning of each week, I plan out what I expect my meals will be, and I batch cook anything that I can before hand. For example, it is easy to bake or stir fry a bunch of chicken, store it in plastic containers in the refrigerator, and eat some every day for the whole week.

That way when I am hungry, I already have something ready to eat. All I have to do is take it out of the refrigerator and warm it up.

Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

Snack foods are a dangerous thing to keep around the house, apartment, or dorm room. If I have a bunch of candy lying around, it is far easier to snack on that than it is to eat something healthy I have already made to eat.

So this tip is actually a two-parter:

  • Part 1 — Do not keep unhealthy snacks in the home
  • Part 2 — Keep healthy snacks in the home

Sometimes I do not want to eat a whole meal; I just need a quick snack to tide me over. Rather than grabbing a candy bar, I can pull out a bag of raw almonds to munch on. If you aren’t concerned with sodium, beef jerky is another good option for a more healthy snack choice.

Maintain Dietary Variety

When planning your own meals, it is important to make sure that you are eating enough of the right kinds of foods.

Eating only a bunch of bread with no proteins or vegetables is not healthy. Neither is eating only salads with no protein.

One of my American friends told me about Tim Ferriss’ “Slow-Carb” diet. The main point of the plan is to avoid sugars and “white” carbs, but he also emphasizes maintaining variety in meals. According to Tim, each meal should contain a protein, vegetables, and a legume (like beans).

If you make sure that all your meals contain these three things, you are in good shape dietarily.

Using these tips has helped me maintain a healthy physique and good energy levels. There is no reason that they should not do the same for you.

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