A Few Healthy Tips for Patriot Students
BY KATHYA MENDEZ, STAFF WRITER
As a college student, there are many responsibilities that can keep you busy throughout the day. Having a tight schedule can be overwhelming for Mason students, making it difficult to maintain a healthy eating habit. Another challenge for Mason students is that they tend to be short on money and time, which makes eating, especially healthy eating, difficult.
Imani Holloman is an on-campus student who isn’t content with her eating habits living here at Mason. “In college, I feel as though I don’t eat healthy as much as I want to,” Holloman said. ”I do purchase healthy food items from the grocery store, but that does not mean that I eat it every day. The things that I wish were different [so I could] achieve eating healthy [habits] is [having] more healthy food options in the JC, time—because I am always on the go between work and school—and remembering to eat healthy while stressed.”
It is not impossible for a student to eat healthy in school, but there are some choices that can be difficult to adjust into a student’s lifestyle and budget.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a few tips for healthy eating. “Whether you’re at the sandwich station in the dining or pouring yourself a bowl of cereal in the morning, it is important to make the switch to whole grain bread and oatmeal,” said the USDA. Whole grain products include nutrients such as potassium, fiber, B vitamins, folic acid and magnesium, so make it a habit to consume whole grains.
Based on USDA statistics, Americans drink nearly 400 calories daily. Consider how often you drink sugary beverages such as sodas, sweetened teas, cappuccinos and energy drinks. Drinking water instead of sugary beverages can help you manage your calories.
Being surrounded by fast food in the JC can be tempting, and most of the time, it fits perfectly well in students’ busy schedule. Imagine a student who walks by the JC to get to class and suddenly feel the need to buy a milkshake or get food before class. However, the restaurants at the JC offers a couple of healthy suggestions, such as Freshens. They offer rice bowls, salads and their classic fresh blended smoothies, so try some of these healthy options instead of the regular unhealthy burger-and-fries diet.
If you are an off-campus student, you might be able to cook your own lunch at home and bring it to school. This can save you both money spent on campus and time waiting in line. You can take advantage of the microwaves in the JC to warm up food that you bring.
Cooking isn’t always an option for on-campus students, since not all residence halls have full-sized kitchens. If you have a meal plan as a Mason student, time and money can be saved there as well. Self-control for healthy decisions can be tough to find once you’re in Southside, Ike’s or The Globe. However, despite the overloaded fats, these dining halls provide fresh cut veggies and fruits. Practicing healthy habits such as not overeating at meals and avoiding desserts is also beneficial.
There is always organic food available near Mason. Students can buy from food markets such as Aldi and Earth Fare located in Fairfax, where cheap and healthy options are available through different choices of vegetables, fruits, oatmeal and a variety of nutrition snacks.
Although students spent their day hustling and forget to eat healthy, it is important to develop and practice these small tips now and make it a habit to stay healthy throughout their lives.