Healthy living as a college student

As college students, grades and class performance are crucial to a good college experience. Although a lot of people don’t realize it, a healthy lifestyle is also beneficial for being successful in college. For many, health can be difficult to maintain as a college student. The meaning of health is typically broken down into two pieces, these are diet and exercise.

Eating healthy and exercising regularly impacts one’s ability to function well. Food that someone eats directly affects how that person feels physically. The phrase “you are what you eat” is true. Eating sugary, processed or simply unhealthy foods often does not provide the body with necessary nutrients. Thus, making one feel fatigued, less energized and lethargic. Compare this to consuming nutritious, wholesome meals, and a person’s overall performance is much better when he or she eats nutritionally. It is no secret that healthy diets are necessary for everyone’s lives.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer) and promote your overall health.”

There are students at Washburn who recognize the importance of eating healthy and being healthy in general. Hannah Radke, freshman biology major does what she can to stay healthy. “I guess I try to have fruit and vegetables with every meal and I go to the gym when I have times, so like twice a week,” said Radke.

As Washburn students, budget issues on campus are very small due to the dining plans in place, so the issue comes more about the choice of meals.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated the main tips to a healthy diet consist of drinking water rather than sugary drinks, making half of a meal fruits or vegetables, switching to whole grains and eating a variety of lean protein.

Obtaining these goals and tips from the Health and Human Services department can be hard due to the somewhat limited options for students.

Eating healthy while in college is undoubtedly tough, but not impossible. Many Washburn students on campus are on a dining plan, which implies that the majority of meals are eaten at either Lincoln dining or Union dining.

Both dining halls offer salad bars, a go-to healthy option. Most foods have nutritional information posted so it is easy to see what one is putting into their body. If an item does not have a nutrition label, both dinging halls have a tablet that one can look up nutritional information of offered food items.

Lincoln dining has several signs that indicate the caloric intake of each food, as well as the amount of sodium or sugar in a particular food.

On-campus dining is obviously not the only places Washburn students eat. Off-campus restaurants are a fun place to go with friends or to get away from the monotonous dining food on campus. However, it is really easy to eat unhealthy food while eating out at restaurants and eating out costs money.

There are several tips and strategies to avoid that issue. Money Crashers suggests tips to make healthier restaurant choices that include doing research on different options, ordering smaller portions, avoiding chain restaurants and practicing moderate eating.

Although eating out can be healthy, it is not a sustainable means of feeding oneself and can get very expensive. Cooking and preparing meals is both the healthiest and cheapest option, if one doesn’t have a dining plan.

Buying nutritional groceries without breaking the bank is completely possible, despite what many believe. Change the way you shop for groceries forever by following these hacks.

Plan your meals ahead of time. Coming to the store with a list can save from impulse buying. 

Grocery stores offer coupons for its customers. Utilize these discounts! Also, researching what stores are offering deals on items you need can save money. 

Eat leftovers. Saving money and time, you can cook enough food to save a couple containers for later. 

It is not practical to think that all college students, or even just people in general, will eat healthy all the time. It is okay to not be entirely health conscious at every point of the day, but there are many steps on and off campus to develop better eating habits.

Exercise is another crucial aspect of remaining healthy. Luckily, Washburn and most college campuses have a recreation center.

The REC at Washburn offers different aspects of fitness. The gym equipment is very accessible, and there is a variety of equipment for whatever type of work out someone is looking to achieve. The REC also offers a private workout room, a basketball court, indoor track, equipment to check out and staff that are willing to help you reach your health goals. REC employees offer fitness evaluations and programs set to help students become more active and healthy.

Intramural are also very prominent on campus. They are a very easy way to meet people and be active at the same time. The Active Ichabod program is in place for students to win prizes and find the motivation to go to the gym.

The REC also offers group exercise classes. These classes are a great opportunity to still be active when the gym may seem too intimidating. Classes that are offered include cycling, boxing, Zumba, yoga and more. There is something that anyone can find and have a good time doing.  

As a Washburn student, these activities are all free. The possibilities are endless for finding a consistent form of exercise that is fits your needs.

Recreation and wellness is very important to Washburn. The mission statement of the Washburn REC is “to provide awareness, education, opportunities, and support resulting in enduring healthy lifestyle habits.”

College students’ budgets and busy schedules can make it difficult to attain a healthy diet and an exercise routine. However, Washburn students have access to resources to help improve health. These simple tips, utilizing campus resources, creating a goal and pursuing it will help one reach a healthy, fulfilling life. What’s stopping you from reaching your goals?