School is just around the corner. For some of you, it’s already begun! Whether you are in high school or college, school can be stressful. What does stress do? It causes breakouts, panic attacks, binge eating and sleepless nights. Staying healthy can reduce that stress. There are so many ways you can enjoy school, parties, and activities without damaging your health. I have learned a lot through my own experiences, and I’m going to share those tips with you! Teachers, these can be for you too!
1. Always eat breakfast. Cutting breakfast won’t help you lose weight if that’s your goal. Breakfast boosts metabolism, gives you energy, improves brain activity, and controls late night binges.
2. Pay attention to the granola bars, yogurt, and energy bars you grab as breakfast or snacks. Keep the sugar and carbohydrates low and the fiber and protein high.
3. Eat at the table. Don’t eat in front of the T.V. or while standing up. Sit down and enjoy your meal. If you don’t pay attention to what you are eating, you might forget you even ate and end up eating more later.
4. Pay attention to the school menu. Pack lunches on days that are not healthy. It’s better to plan in advance.
5. Treat yourself once a week during lunch. Treating yourself is something to look forward to and prevents binges from depriving yourself.
6. Take advantage of your college’s salad bar. Don’t drown your salad in bacon, croutons, or fatty dressings. Keep it light. That salad bar is your best tool in college.Remember tip #6
7. Stop adding so many condiments to your meals. Yeah school lunches might be dull, but by adding loads of ketchup, mayonnaise or ranch, you’re increasing the fat, sugar, and calories. Choose smart condiments like mustard, pepper, or garlic. If you have a salad, put the dressing on the side.
8. Portion control in the cafeteria. It’s okay to eat school lunch, but make sure you eat the food in moderation. Don’t get doubles or tell your lunch lady to give you an extra scoop of mashed potatoes. It’s not necessary.
9. Talk to the head of the cafeteria about offering healthy choices. Sometimes lunch ladies have the ability to request meals they serve. If you let them know what you’d like to see, they may be able to help you out!
10. Pack a healthy snack in your bag to control your hunger before lunch. All that morning studying can make your hunger pains increase. If you have a light snack before lunch, you’re more likely to make healthier choices.
11. Pack a healthy snack in your bag to eat on your way home to prevent binge snacking. When you get home from school, the fridge may be the first thing to greet you. If you eat on your way home, you’ll be less fatigued and less likely to go straight to the fridge.
12. Recommended to-go snacks. apples, pistachios, almonds, Greek yogurt, homemade protein bars, homemade fruit leather, vegetables and hummus, nut butter and celery, grapes, bananas, dark chocolate almonds, homemade sweet potato chips, protein muffins.
13. Bring a bottle of water to school to stay hydrated all day long. Drinking water will also help improve your skin health.
14. Turn off all electronics and go to bed early. It’s easy to talk to your friends and stay connected all night, but sleep is more important. When your body is fatigued, you are more likely to turn to sugary foods to boost your energy.
15. Stretch it out. Stretch first thing when you wake up to wake yourself up faster and to take care of those sleep cramps.
16. Cat nap. Don’t sleep all day but a 25 minute cat nap can do wonders! Don’t forget to set your alarm to wake up! A little nap can give you the same high as coffee.
17. Stay clean. Bring antibacterial wipes and hand soap.
18. Wash your face! Us youngsters have to keep our faces clean or the attack of the breakout will strike. Make sure to clean out those pores after your workouts and before you go to bed at night.
19. Take a daily vitamin. A daily vitamin can boost your metabolism, strengthen your joints, bones and muscles. It can prevent injuries and illnesses.
20. Suck it up and go to the doctor. It’s important to get a checkup every year to make sure you are in good health.
21. Dress up. Don’t wear sweat pants and baggy clothes to school every day. If you dress lazy, you’ll most likely act lazy. Wear jeans and a nice shirt. Your outfit can affect your mood.
22. Grocery Shop Whether living at home or on campus, you must go grocery shopping. Campus stores are full of processed junk. Maybe your mom needs a kick in the pants to stop bringing home pizza rolls. Participate in grocery shopping so you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
23. Shop locally. A lot of students have trouble affording healthy foods so they opt for fast food. If you shop at local markets or buy seasonal produce, it’s much more affordable.
24. It’s not uncool for a student to coupon! Pay attention to your grocery store’s deals and save money on fresh groceries!
25. Stock up on herbal tea. Tea can change your mood during those stressful study nights. It can prevent mindless snacking too.
26. Talk to your family about the importance of healthy dinners. Your parents may have busy jobs and resort to ordering pizza most nights. Create a game plan to make the house a healthier place.
27. Make a list before you go grocery shopping. Right down all the foods you’d like to buy and stick to the list. Don’t wander too far outside of the list unless it’s healthy. Don’t forget to buy healthy treats like: dark chocolate, cinnamon almonds, or almond butter.
28. It’s not cheaper to buy frozen dinners. You’ll save more money meal prepping and freezing your own meals. You’ll be saving more than money too.
29. Get more involved in the kitchen. Show your family how they can make small changes to make meals healthier. Ex: switching from vegetable oil to olive oil or using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or butter.
30. Keep healthy snacks at the front of your fridge. You’re more likely to grab the pre-cut fresh food if it’s at the front of your fridge and in your eye view. That saves from grabbing all the other unhealthy snacks.
31. Cut out soda and juice. It’s unnecessary sugar. If you get headaches from cutting it out, try carbonated water.
32. Dorm Fridge. If you live with a junk food addict, organize the fridge into yourself/their shelf. Stock it with fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, and fresh vegetables. Here is a recipe guide for dorm room meals.
33. Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you are hungry, your brain will tell you to put everything with quick energy boost into your cart. You’ll end up buying loads of saturated fats and sugary foods. If you eat before you go, you’ll make smarter choices.
34. Stay organized. Keep all your activities and notes on a schedule.
35. Clean. Don’t allow your dorm or bedroom to get out of control and messy. Your surroundings reflect your moods. Cleaning and disinfecting can play a huge role in your health.
36. Put your eating and snacking on a schedule. This works for me because I am a mindless snacker at night. I don’t eat between 9 pm and 6 am. That cut off time helps me from eating mindlessly. Food schedules can train your body when to be hungry and when to be full.
37. Keep smart appliances in your dorm room. Living in a dorm is tricky when you don’t have a large fridge, oven, or stove. Ask for appliances for graduation. Air pop popcorn maker, coffee maker, indoor grill, rice steamer, blender, or juicer.
38. Give up fast food. If you have to have it, educate yourself on what fast food options are healthy. You may think it’s cheaper but it is not. If you find yourself too busy to make meals, start food prepping on the weekends.
39. Instead of gift cards to places like Olive Garden, McDonalds or other chain restaurants; request gift cards for places like: Whole Foods, you local grocery store, the movie theater, clothing stores, or Target.
40. Learn how to eat healthier while dining out with friends. During the school year, you’ll face a lot of restaurants with friends. Learn how to make smart choices like: dressing on the side, grilled never fried, veggies over fries, etc. Hopefully you’ve found my blog helpful with this. Here is a page that might help you with dining out. You can find most nutritional menus for restaurants online. So plan ahead.
41. Introduce more healthy fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega-3) into your diet. (Almonds, avocado, nut butters, coconut, etc.) Healthy fats can play a role in improving your moods, your brain performance, your weight, and they keep you energetic.
42. Listen to your stomach. Don’t confuse your cravings with boredom. Drink some tea or water and go find something to keep you busy. Eat when your body tells you to.
43. Replace sugary treats with fresh fruits. Instead of curing your sweet tooth with brownies, cookies, or ice cream; have apples and peanut butter, peaches and cottage cheese or blueberries and pistachios.
44. Make healthy study snacks. Don’t mindlessly snack on chips, candy, or chocolate. Choose air popped popcorn, vegetables, or Greek yogurt.
45. Eat Eggs!! Eggs contain the nutrient choline, a nutrient with the nickname “the memory vitamin”. They’re also super cheap.
46. Stay away from the vending machines. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything healthy in the vending machine. It is full of crash foods and unhealthy fats.
47. If you are eating three meals a day and find yourself hungry more often, break those three meals into six little meals. With an active day at school, eating frequently may help your energy levels and hunger.
48. Invest in blue. I keep hearing that eating from blue plates will curb your appetite. Red and yellow will increase your appetite. (hello McDonalds) If you are looking for amazing lunch boxes, check out laptoplunches.com They will change your life!
49. Don’t study or do your homework in the kitchen. Close yourself off in your bedroom, the library, or an outside sitting area.
50. Choose your coffee drinks wisely. I’m a coffee drinker. I get that it is almost impossible to give up. It’s easy to grab a latte at the gas station or frappe at Starbucks, but before you do; check out the nutrition label. Most of those drinks have more sugar than you should consume in one week. Instead of diving into the syrupy drinks, choose: coffee with almond milk, latte’s with skim milk, iced coffee, hot tea, or an Americano.
51. Stay away from energy drinks. Those sugary energy drinks will leave you hungry and crashing within an hour. Get your boost with a cup of coffee, tea or healthy fats.
52. Don’t fall for diet pills. They are dangerous. If you want a REAL weight loss, do it the natural way. If you need a boost of energy, look to coffee, food, or a 25 minute nap.
53. Write out a year plan. Write down all the things you’d like to improve on when it comes to your health. How fast you’d like to run your mile, how many miles you’d like to run, or which foods you’d like to try. Create a game plan to accomplish your goals.
54. Start a blog or diary. It helps to see your progress and express how you are feeling. You can make it private or public. This will help you hold yourself accountable for your actions.
55. Weigh yourself, but don’t get obsessed with the scale. If you are lifting weights and working out hard, you might be losing inches rather than pounds. Measure yourself as well. Do this once a month. If you have an addiction with the scale, tell your support team to hide it.
56. Find support. Talk to your family and friends about your goals. Let them know how they can support and help your new lifestyle. You can’t expect a support team if you don’t build one.
57. If your goal is to lose weight, burn an extra 500 calories a day. Don’t rush your weight loss by cutting calories and burning 3500 a day. You’ll gradually lose real weight if you burn an extra 500 calories a day.
58. Buy yourself a goal outfit. Hang it up in the front of your closet. Goal outfits keep you motivated each day
59. Don’t hide your healthy lifestyle. Embrace it. If you embrace it, people may support and help you reach your goals. You will also inspire others to do the same. If my roommate was on a healthy meal plan, I’d be more inspired to do the same and keep the junk out of the dorm.
60. Keep track of your miles. If you go over your miles in your shoes, you can form an injury like: runners knee, shin splints, or achilles tendinitis. You already have a stress full year, an injury will make it worse.
61. Be confident and happy. If you are positive and show confidence you will have more success in your healthy lifestyle. Laughing reduces stress and aids in weight loss.
62. Be patient. Healthy progress happens slowly. It’s unhealthy to make changes fast. Don’t be discouraged with the time. Be happy that you are sticking to something.
63. Reward yourself. If you complete a goal, reward yourself. That’s what makes goals so much fun. If you finally run a mile without stopping, treat yourself with new shoes or a pedicure.
64. Practice portion control on pizza nights. Don’t give it up completely. You’re more likely to keep a healthy lifestyle if you treat yourself. Have a slice or two of pizza and pair it with fresh produce. Plus, you’ll have leftovers, and morning pizza is better!
65. Don’t be afraid to take a break. School can wear you out! If you don’t give your body a rest day, then you’ll never recover. Your body needs a break and so does your brain. Spend the day at the movies or lounging around the house.
66. Practice yoga. Yoga is very calming and helps you take control of things. School can feel out of control now and then.
67. Play music. When you study hard, sometimes eating food gives your brain something else to focus on. Don’t go downstairs to grab a bag of chips or candy, play classical music to distract you. Music will help you zone out and put your brain into a study coma. Classical music is relaxing and can help your brain focus on your work instead of food. Try it!
68. Don’t stress eat. Go for a walk instead. If I’m frustrated and try to cover it up with unhealthy food, I end up feeling worse about myself later. Exercise gives you endorphin’s. Endorphin’s make you happy and happy people just….well you know the rest! Exercise makes you feel strong and able to conquer anything!
69. Food prep. I mentioned this earlier but if you are too busy during the week and it leads to eating junk food or fast food, spend your Sunday’s food prepping your lunches, breakfast and dinners. It will make your week run smoothly and help you in making smart food choices.
70. Keep hard boiled eggs prepared in your fridge. They add healthy protein and fats to your diet. They are easy to grab or top a salad with. Whenever I’m super hungry, I down a couple and then decide what to eat.
71. Always keep a spare set of workout/gym clothes in your car or locker! If you forget, you have no excuse to skip.
72. Set your clothes out the night before to prevent rushing and skipping your morning workout/or breakfast. Running around searching for things or realizing your favorite jeans are still in the wash is more stressful in the morning. Get those things ready the night before! Rushing is stressful, so prevent it.
73. Start incorporating weights into your workouts. If your school offers a weight lifting class, jump all over that opportunity! I regret not taking it in high school. Muscle burns more calories and boosts your metabolism.
74. Bring your notes to the gym. Exercising while studying can improve your memory. I used to record my class notes and listen to them on my iPod while walking.
75. Take the stairs. My high school stairs were never ending. I was out of breath by the time I was up half of them. We had an old high school that was four floors high. If you choose to take the stairs you can burn an extra 30 calories a day. (Now that’s assuming you take them more than once) That is an extra 5400 calories burnt throughout the year.
76. Join or start a health club. Sometimes talking with others who are trying to stay healthy can keep you motivated. Colleges have great gyms, take advantage. (They get expensive once you graduate).
77. If you are intimidated by joining a sport, just join an intramural team instead. It’s super fun and will keep you moving after class. My favorite was powder puff football.
78. Walk or bike to school. It may be hard to find time to exercise with a packed school schedule, so leaving a little early and biking to school can be a convenient way to fit in activity. Getting those endorphin’s flowing in the morning will set you up for a good school day.
79. Always take a gym class. It’s a free way to get exercise. And it’s much better than taking a boring history class! If you can’t work out before or after school, do it during!
80. Join school activities. If you find yourself lying around on the couch watching T.V. after school, then you have way too much time! Join an activity to keep you active and involved. It’s healthy to stay social and interactive. You’ll also notice it looks good on college and job applications.
81. Wear a pedometer around and aim for 1000+ more steps during your school day!
82. Get your friends together for a workout date. Stay social while being active. Join a fun Zumba class or try to convince your school to offer a Zumba night.
83. If you are in college take advantage of your school’s free facilities. Money is usually tight in college, so grab a friend and hit your college gym instead of buying a membership to a separate gym.
84. Get up and move every thirty minutes. Set a little reminder on your phone or computer and make yourself get up and move around after sitting down. Get your blood flowing and your energy levels up. Don’t do this in class and blame me.
85. If you are not into sports, join theater or show choir! You get just as much exercise and it brings out your creative side. It keeps you busy and involved. During my junior year of high school I as in the musical “High School Musical” and a lot of the kids lost up to 15 pounds during production and rehearsals.
86. Get group games organized one day out of the week. Organize a once a week ultimate frisbee, basketball game, or relay race. It’s a great way to meet new people and get active together.
87. Get an active part-time job. If you have to keep a job during the school year, get one that is active. Work with kids, at a gym, or another job that requires constant movement.
88. Walk your dog. Make an effort to walk your dog before and after school. This is a great way to get your dog some exercise and for you to enjoy the fresh air. Your dog will appreciate it.
89. If you are looking for something with a support team that you can dedicate yourself to, then join a cross fit gym! They are more expensive than regular gyms, so; talk to your school or college about starting a cross fit program.
90. Bring healthy treats to early group meetings or get together-s. Most morning meetings offer donuts, cookies or muffins. Bring homemade granola bars, fresh fruit, or homemade muffins.
91. Don’t be afraid to say no. Just because someone offers you something, it doesn’t mean you must eat it. I respect people who have the will power to say no thank you.
92. Get creative with your crock pot. It’s the perfect method to meal prepping. You can also have these lovely pots in your dorm room.
93. Don’t eat it because your friends are. I wish I would have realized this in high school. Everyone’s body is different. Just because your friends are fit while eating tons of junk, doesn’t mean they are healthy or your body can do the same. Some people have faster metabolisms. Don’t feel discouraged by it, or feel pressured to eat what they are eating. Remember to nourish your body with healthy food. Believe it or not, even though they are eating a lot of food, they are still depriving their body of necessary nutrients.
94. Tailgating the healthy way. Bring your own meals and beverages to tailgates. Bring a healthy crock pot chili, fruit kabobs, your own protein for the grill and a tossed salad. People will appreciate your healthy dishes.
95. Give up the alcohol as much as you can. I know it may seem like the cool thing to do, but you’re here for the education, right? For you party-animals, avoid the sugary mixers, Smirnoffs, and heavy beers. Stick to light beer; you’ll thank me in the morning.
96. Don’t let your healthy lifestyle get in the way of your social life. It’s important to be healthy, but having friends is also healthy. Learn how to balance the two.
97. If you must drink. Remember that your body treats alcohol like an alien. It’s going to ignore the food you ate and try to get rid of the alcohol. Eat very healthy on “drink” nights and don’t end the night with a fast food stop. Snack on healthy fats, high protein, and save some calorie room from the alcohol calories. Just because you are in college and everyone is drinking doesn’t mean you have to. Do what YOU want.
98. Get your friends together for a running club and sign up for fun races throughout the year!
99. Get good grades. Getting good grades gives you a boost of confidence and pride. That accomplishment can make you feel capable of the incapable. Being smart is sexy!
100. Root for the Hawkeyes. Always.