How Busy College Students can Stay Healthy

How Busy College Students can Stay Healthy

* This is a guest post by Brian Jenkins

Most people know that college students are fond of celery sticks. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the truth! Most actually prefer unhealthy, high-calorie food items. Also, it’s no secret that college students drink a lot of alcohol, and these empty calories contribute to making them plump. To stay healthy, students should avoid residence hall vending machines, student union fast food joints, and late night study snacks. Let’s take a look at some other important topics:


How Busy College Students can Stay Healthy


Calorie Control

Don’t make eating a hobby. Also, try not to skip breakfast, because eating in the morning gets your metabolism going and allows you to burn more calories through the course of the day. Consider having instant oatmeal or some fruit. Only eat pastries vicariously through your roommate! If you’re going to have a snack, stick with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit, celery, rice cakes, or pretzels. Also, snacking late at night puts on weight. A study conducted in 2005 showed that eating between 8 pm and 4 am is a leading contributor to weight gain.

If you add cheese to your meals, reduce the calories by using grated Parmesan; it’s packed with flavor so you only need to add a small amount to your food. Salsa and vinegar are other good flavor-adding condiments. If you’re going to have a slice of pizza, make it thin crust. Less crust means fewer carbohydrates. Also, the sauces in Chinese food usually have a lot of fat, so ask your server for a low-fat version.

Here are some unhealthy food and drinks to avoid:

  • Refined carbohydrates, high-sugar foods, and high-fat foods
  • The skin on chicken meat, which includes a lot of fat
  • Fried foods
  • High calorie desserts
  • High calorie energy drinks
  • Some coffee drinks (some have as many calories as a whole meal should contain)
  • Whole milk

Does the thought of giving up ice cream and other tasty desserts seem absurd? If so, you can treat yourself occasionally to small portions of these tasty desserts. And no, eating small desserts isn’t just for wimps! Since you only have taste buds on your tongue eat slowly and enjoy the taste. Experts report people consume less food by eating slowly. Also, use a small plate for meals. People typically fill up large plates with too much food. An article entitled Eat Sweets and Still Lose the Belly Fat provides some interesting information for dessert lovers.



Eat a balance of vegetarian proteins or lean meats, high fiber carbohydrates, and whole grains. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and keep in mind that fresh and frozen vegetables contain more nutrients than canned varieties.

Eat salads, and pile them high with dark, leafy greens and vegetables. Avoid high-calorie creamy dressings. Choose a low-calorie option such as a vinaigrette and don’t pour on too much.



Alcoholic drinks contain many, many calories. One beer has about 150 of them. If you have a few on a weekend night, the calories can really add up. If you’re going to drink, light beer is the preferred choice. Also, alcohol reduces the amount of fat the body burns to make energy. Instead of being stored as fat, most of the alcohol is converted to a substance known as acetate. When acetate levels rise, your body burns more acetate and less fat.


Binge Drinking

Avoid binge drinking and your liver will thank you! Perhaps you need a hotline for problem drinkers or if your friends mock you, give them some reasons as to why you’re not interested in drinking so much anymore:

  • It’s unhealthy.
  • Hanging out with friends is what makes you happy. You don’t need alcohol.
  • It may damage your brain.
  • You’re not fond of being in a drunken stupor.
  • You don’t enjoy hangovers.
  • You don’t want to harm your liver.

Initially, your friends may react in a slightly negative manner, but later they’ll respect you for not bowing to peer pressure. Perhaps you’ll inspire them to avoid binge drinking.



Studies have connected an appropriate amount of sleep to maintaining a healthy weight. Also, sleep is a good way to manage stress, which can prompt you to overeat. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night.



Exercise, as you probably know, is a great way to burn off some of the calories you ingest during the day. Sashay around campus on a daily basis. Well, actually it’s better to do some jogging, aerobics, fast walking, or participate in sports. Dancing is another good aerobic exercise. You’re more likely to continue participating in an exercise routine if you have an exercise partner, so try to find a friend who also wants to get fit.


Unhealthy Snacks

Eating unhealthy snacks from an open container often leads to the consumption of 500 to 800 calories in just one snack session. If, after doing some pondering, surmising, contemplating, and soul searching you decide to eat an unhealthy snack, take out a small portion and put the container away.

Yes, you can have fun at college, get good grades, AND stay healthy!


Brian Jenkins is an expert on a variety of topics related to the college experience. He writes about these topics for


Image: photostock /




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    Gera is a techie & foodie passionate about how to succeed in social media. He focuses also on successful blogging tips and food connections. You can connect with him on Google +. Subscribe to his Free WPulsar Newsletter about WordPress Plugin & Theme Reviews, Blogging and Social Media.

    claudia lamascolo

    This is great info, my two nephews need to read this and will love it… I am going to send them your link. As always your full of fantastic information to help others… have a great weekend Gera~


    I wish by telling them that you don’t need alcohol to hangout with friends is that easy. Most likely, when they hangout there will be alcohol involve as well.


    I will make a lot of copies of this post and leave it by the bulletin board in my building and save also for the fall. My neighborhood is owned by NYU and let me tell you there is not a night that goes by that I am not woken up with the rantings of these college kids drinking. Today I saw many graduating and I say “peace for the summer”. Ay Caramba!

    Great post Gera and thank you.


    Celery sticks were my last food option in college. I went with the pizza, ritz crackers with Fluff & PB, MEGA muffins for breakfast, MORE pizza, and lots of alcohol. PHEW! Glad I recovered from that phase.


    What a great bunch of tips for not just college students but young people in general! This is a very thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing! You have a beautiful blog and I’m glad to have found it. Going to check out your recipes now! 🙂 – Georgia


    Oh, great tips!! You don’t even want to know what I ate in college. You really, really, REALLY don’t.


    You’re preaching to the choir here! The question is – how to get the kids to take the article seriously? Because the info is all true.


    Very nice post. My son does well with the good food but won’t follow the balance of this advice. College kids uuughh!


    Refusing to drink alcohol with your friends is hard on the first time. But learn to say No! the second or the next time around they won’t ask you again. They will respect you as friend and that is more I like it.

    Natasha Cardinez-Singh

    Great article with very good tips. Eating healthy was one of the most difficult things for me to do while in college!


    Yeah, many people are considered social drinkers, and that’s what gets them into health troubles. If your friends really care about you, then they’ll never insist on you.


    I think most of this advice applies no matter what our age. Good reminders!

    Marcos Marinero

    A little break from healthy eating can be good too. Eating 6 days a week healthy and pick one day to eat whatever you what. It doesn’t hurt. If you try to be perfect, you’re not going to enjoy life. We need to balance life too. A bad is good too 🙂

    Vicky Jordan

    Eating healthy is a choice people make. It really doesn’t matter if someone is in college or not. The bottom line is, it requires discipline to say no to junk food and other unhealthy food choices that can be harmful to the body.


    I always kept the pounds off in college by participating in the “banana and coffee” diet. I was not healthy. It was only after I started doing yoga at the intermural center that I realized how badly I had been treating myself. I think one of the most important things to keep in mind as a college student is somehow keeping your body active. Staying active reminds you that your body needs certain things to survive like sleep, nutrition and exercise.


    These are great tips, and wish I followed them when I was younger. I struggled in college to follow a healthy eating regime, especially with late night projects and pressure from friends to party which led to eating bad. I think it’s important to eat healthy, but moderation is part of it too. Every once in awhile I reward myself with something sweet or “bad” to eat, but for the most part, eating healthy has made me crave those foods a lot less!


    Excellent tips for student people. your thought is useful to controlling diet and eating healthy product during college life..Thanks

    Jac Morton

    Staying healthy despite your busy schedule as a college student is a matter of discipline and self control. Peer pressure can sometimes lead most College student to go astray and stop being healthy. I’m happy that I was able to stay healthy and disciplined when I was still in college. I was able to finished it with honors and become successful in both side of the world. It’s just a matter of choice. Am I right Gera?


    college student should avoid the bad company which become use to of these drugs like alcohol and smoking….etc. alcohol is very bad drink because it can spoil the liver totaly…



    There are many issue in college life, in college life every one enjoy his life a lot. The main issue is bad company so college students should avoid the bad company.



    Bad company creates bad habits in college life. So, be careful about bad companies.
    “A healthy body in healthy mind” so, students be careful about in hygienic foods.


    Most of students like fast food, and I think it will affect to their health in the future


    If the students were do breakfast regularly they can maintain their health and also eat the lunch and dinner at the proper time and in proper quantity they certainly retain their health good..when your health is good you can work and learn easily becaus health is wealth……..

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