1. Drink water. LOTS of water. I have a cute pink water bottle that goes everywhere with me- I try to drink at least one whole water bottle full during each class. A lot of the time, we think we’re hungry when we may just be slightly dehydrated. If you start to feel hungry, chug some water, wait a while, and see if you still have an urge to eat.
2. Start off your day with some breakfast. Try to eat something within an hour after you wake up. I love having eggs and toast in the mornings, but you could just grab a banana or make some easy instant oatmeal if you aren’t into the dining hall. With breakfast, the idea is to keep your body full and energized for a while…leading me to my next point –
3. Swap out carbs for protein. Read ingredient labels on what you buy, and make a conscious decision to purchase food items that are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. Protein will provide your body with lasting energy and help curb snack cravings. If you work out a lot, protein will also rebuild your muscles.
4. Add fruit or vegetables to every meal, and try to substitute veggies or fruit for your snacks throughout the day. An apple with peanut butter or even sliced cheddar cheese is a delicious and super filling snack (my fave!!).
5. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on something, it might be a bad idea. What the heck is that stuff, anyway? Kinda scary to put something in your body that you can’t even say.
6. If there are more than, say, ten ingredients listed on the back, don’t eat it. I recently compared the ingredients on whole grain Tostitos chips to the ingredients on a bag of Doritos while proving to my boyfriend that the Tostitos were an okay snack choice (obvi, I was right).
7. INDULGE. Eat some ice cream! Go to Starbucks! — Just don’t make it a habit. …This is my biggest downfall. I have a ridiculous sweet tooth. Especially for chocolate chip cookies.
8. Have more meals composed of smaller servings, if that makes sense. I try to think of my eating habits as more of several midsized healthy snacks than three huge meals. It helps kick up your metabolism (kinda like eating breakfast does!). Helpful hint: keep in mind that one serving of meat (protein source!) should be about the size of a card deck.
9. Stop drinking soda. Now. Just do it. I’m guilty of occasionally using soda as a mixer (see #10), but otherwise it has been totally cut out of my diet. I don’t think this really needs a lot of explanation…
10. Cut down on the drinking (you know what I mean), or use sodawater instead of soda as a mixer. Being in college, this one can be hard if you love to go out and be social. If you cut down on your drinking habits by just one night a week, you will start to see a difference in your energy levels and feel less bloated the next day. Stay in and go to bed early, or go out and limit how much you have. Get someone to stay in with you (sisterhood event, perhaps?)
So there’s your new 10-step eating plan! It works pretty well for me, but I definitely have my cheat days (Chik-fil-a milkshakes, anyone??). We’re all human, right? If you have any specific questions about meal ideas or foods, I would love to answer them! Good luck and stay healthy!
-May McNeil ’16, Social Media Editor