It's often tough for college students to eat healthily with such busy schedules and limited resources. However, it is possible to get down to a healthy weight -- or maintain one -- while attending college, and in many cases, it doesn't take any drastic changes to your current diet. A slight change in the types of foods and number of calories consumed is all it takes to lose weight.
College life sometimes makes it difficult to eat healthy. Many students are living off macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles and other boxed convenience foods. For college students looking to lose weight, these are not the types of foods that are going to get the job done. Sticking to a weight-loss plan that restricts, or at least reduces, the amount of junk food you consume each day will have a largely positive effect on your weight loss results. For example, cutting back on your two-a-day 20-ounce soda habit can cut approximately 500 empty calories from your diet, or the equivalent of losing 1 one pound of body fat per week. Focus instead on fresh or frozen vegetables, plenty of fruit, whole-grain foods, low-sugar cereals and drinks, lean meats, eggs and salads -- the fresher, the better. Also, limit alcohol consumption when trying to lose weight, because a single can of beer can have 100 or more calories that have little nutritional value. In other words, many of these calories do nothing more than get stored as fat in your body.
Many college-age people are turning to vegetarianism as a way to live a healthy life. For college students trying to lose weight, becoming a vegetarian is a healthy way to go. In 2009, the American Dietetic Association endorsed vegetarianism as a healthy and nutritious way for people of all ages to live as long as it is done the right way. To get enough of the vitamins and nutrients that are commonly lacking in a vegetarian diet -- which include iron, calcium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B-12, zinc and protein -- eat plenty of leafy vegetables and greens, vitamin-enriched cereals and soy milk, a wide variety of fruits, omega-3-fortified foods, nuts, legumes, wheat germ, tofu and soy products. A vegetarian lifestyle works well for people trying to lose weight because it consists primarily of nutritionally dense foods that are low in calories. Consult your doctor or nutritionist before starting a vegetarian diet.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
As one of the foremost supporters of the fight against obesity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its report on the topic of healthy eating every five years, called the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This comprehensive study on how to eat healthy and maintain an ideal body weight for your age focuses on the consumption of a plant-based diet along with lean meats and fish in small quantities. The USDA advises you eat a diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and small amounts of lean meats, fats and sweets. These foods are rich in vitamins and nutrients a college student needs to perform her best each day, and they are also relatively low in calories for those looking to reach a healthy weight. The USDA allows you to personalize a diet and weight-loss plan at its MyPyramid website, which also gives advice on how to lose weight the healthy way.