The University Network

Healthy Eating: The Ultimate Guide

I feel like today all you hear about and see when it comes to food is organic this and gluten free that. Should I be vegetarian? Or maybe vegan is better… but wait, my friend is on a juice cleanse and she lost 5 pounds… what should I do? Let’s all take a step back and take a deep breath. The first thing that I want to address is the fact that finally people are much more conscious about what they are putting in their mouths, which is something I have been waiting to see for years. My mom hopped on this bandwagon about 15 years ago, before it was much more main stream, so I’m glad to have been educated on this topic for almost my entire life. Although this was the “norm” for me, my friends were always confused as to why we never had Oreos in the house…

Nowadays, a lot of people (at least my generation) are very health conscious, which is super awesome! This movement is so important considering we are fighting so many health problems in the world. At the same time, I see so many teenagers and young adults going about this lifestyle the wrong way because they don’t have guidance. Some people are starving themselves, while others are cutting out the junk to lose weight but are replacing it with “healthier” forms of fat, which gets you nowhere.

Hence I have compiled a few tips to help you go about eating healthy the right way:

>>>>> Everyone’s Body Is Different 

To answer your question in the first line, I can’t tell you which kind of diet you should follow through with. You’re the only person that knows your body and you know what it needs and what is doesn’t. What works for one person may not work for you. Finding the perfect diet for you consists of a lot of trial and error. My personal opinion on all of these different diets is this: completely cutting out something isn’t necessarily a good thing (unless you are allergic to certain foods, of course)– moderation is key.

>>>>> Grass-Fed Meat

Thinking of going vegan? Here’s what you need to know: the reason why there is so much talk about how meat is bad for you is because most people aren’t eating the correct kind of meat. If your meat is not grass-fed, this is basically force feeding GMOs into your mouth. Again, some people view meat as this awful thing, but if you are eating grass-fed meat you are putting awesome proteins into you body. But just like anything, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Just because it’s grass-fed doesn’t mean you can have that extra piece of steak.

>>>>> Do Not Cut Out Meals

This is probably the the thing that I see most college girls do. There is always that myth that skipping a meal is going to help you lose weight faster. Well no, it’s actually the complete opposite. This is what happens: you skip your one meal, but then you find yourself laying in bed at night not being able to sleep because you are starving. So, you  go to the refrigerator and eat anything in sight. Then you say “Ok, it will be better tomorrow”. No, it will not be better tomorrow. This late night snacking is defeating what you have set out to do! Don’t skip a meal, just practice ~portion control~ (see below)

>>>>> Portion Control

This is absolutely one of the most important aspects in which ever diet you chose to do. And, this will help you plan out what you are going to eat throughout the day. If you eat 3 square meals a  day and don’t over do them, you will be fine. Also, if you remember that you had toast in the morning, maybe a sandwich for lunch may not be the best idea. Or if you know you are having chicken for dinner, get something else for lunch. It’s these kind of things that make the difference.

>>>>> Juice Cleanse?

This is one of the most debated about topics, to do a juice cleanse or not even to bother… Well first of let me tell you this, I tried it a few times and personally it did not agree with my body. I felt light headed and had very little energy. But, as I said before every person’s body is different so what works for you might not work for me, but it can’t hurt to try it once. What I do know for a fact is that this cleanse is something that should not be done often, that is not healthy for you. What I do with juices is use them as a little pick me up at some point during the day which helps me with my sweet cravings.

>>>>> Limit Sugars

What people don’t realize about sugar, is that if you consume too much of it, the amount that is not used by your body is stored as fat. This extra fat can be easily avoided, so try not to have as much extra sugar throughout the day. I am not talking about natural sugar from fruit, because that can’t be avoided. But start with something small like not putting sugar in your coffee for example.

>>>>> No More Processed Foods 

Take a look at the list of the ingredients on the back of some of your packaged food. If the list is too long to read and you can’t pronounce half the junk in it, get rid of it! Not to mention, so many of these foods are high in sodium, sugar, and fat which leads to excess bloating. So, instead of that Easy Mac f0r example, make your own mac and cheese with healthy and organic ingredients.

>>>>> Meal Prep 

Meal prep in college is such an important tip. When you do not meal prep, this is where you find yourself running around to find any easy and quick thing that you can eat, which will most likely not be the healthiest choice. Take a little time out of your Sunday night just to get a few things together for the week. This will save you a lot of time and money because it will force you not to go out and buy tons of meals.

>>>>> Exercise 

Another thing that people assume is that weight will be lost just by eating a healthy diet. This is by no means true. Of course having a healthy diet is the key element, but you need to couple that with a little bit of exercise each day.