By Ariani Mohd Nor
To some, it may sound absurd just talking about eating clean and healthy food in campus. Furthermore, you are studying in an international university where foods from many different places of the world are within your reach.
However, with the ideal daily calorie intake of 8,400 kJ for females and 10,500 kJ for males, eating healthy in IIUM is not the hardest thing you can do – when you have the will, there will always be a way.
Here are five tips on how you can try to maintain a healthy diet, even in campus.
- Stock up on healthy snacks
As university students, we don’t have much free time in our hands – hence, the binge snacking we find ourselves doing in the middle of completing our assignments. Unfortunately, the usual snacks that we consume are most commonly high-sodium junk food and will most definitely crumble our goal to eat healthy. Alternatives such as granola bars, dried fruits, and rice snacks are highly recommended as these options are not only healthy, but they also have long shelf life without using the refrigerator.
Fruits that do not ripe easily such as apples and oranges are also great addition to your healthy snack pile and can even be taken as your in-dorm breakfast.
- Avoid sugar as much as possible
Sugars are great for a quick energy rush, but not only too much of it is bad for you, the aftermath of the sugar rush can leave you unnecessarily tired and groggy, which will then leave you little to no energy for the rest of the day. Especially during deadline periods or exam season, where students might think they need coffee, soft drinks, and energy drinks to keep them awake to study at night. As an alternative, a tall glass of mineral water will do the trick for you – and is also much better!
Drinking more water is also a good alternative to any drink – keeping a small water bottle with you or simply purchasing the RM1 bottled water around campus will help you throughout your day with your sugary drink cravings. It is also a known fact that the optimal daily water intake is eight glasses per day, so substituting sugary drinks with water altogether will definitely help.
- Add one serving of fruits or vegetables for every meal
It has been a known fact that most people, in general, lack fruits and vegetables. It might have been a habit, or the fact that some of us don’t have an appeal towards fruits and veggies – which is sad, because they can be delicious if you know which fruits and veggies you prefer. I suggest that you start slow with the fruits and veggies intake; in an event where you go to a restaurant and have the option to choose your own dishes over rice, try some vegetables of your choice! Or for dessert, you might prefer fruits with a bit of assam powder to freshen up your day.
Exercise is not necessarily eating – but eating healthy food and maintaining a healthy diet would be almost useless if exercise is neglected. Exercising obviously does not always mean having to do work-outs every day in the gym; simple exercises such as walking to class or swimming in the campus pool can really loosen up the muscles in your body and burn off some of those calories! If you don’t walk to class, taking one to two hours of your day to stretch and burn off those unnecessary fat will be vital for your journey towards eating healthy.
- Remember to eat!
Always remember that eating healthy and putting up a strict diet does not mean starving yourself. Remember to always eat three meals a day, and breakfast will always be the most important one! Eating three meals a day and having the proper portions will not only decrease your snack cravings but also keep you away from digestive problems such as gastritis. Eating will not only keep your body satisfied, but you will also fuel your brain for your study sessions.
Eating healthy away from home may not be the easiest, but you can do it once you put your head into it! Being healthy should not be a choice but rather a priority, because our bodies are ours to be taken care of as long as we live. You cannot achieve much when your body fails you, even if you have acquired good grades.
Therefore, start eating smart and spend your money in the right way! ***
Photo credit University of Washington-Madison