How To: Eat Balanced Meals in College

Story by Allison Streich
Photo Courtesy of Google

Let’s face it. We’ve all had our moments where no matter how much we eat, we just can’t seem to fill up.

It’s like your stomach is a bottomless pit, right? There’s no doubt that the binge session will leave you feeling terrible, both physically and mentally. With the holiday season quickly approaching, it’s important to limit what you’re consuming and not overdo it to the point where you feel sick.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to help you not overeat.

1. Eat slower.
This is pretty self-explanatory, but eating slower can really help maintain the amount of food you’re eating by making you feel fuller, faster. Taking the time to fully chew your food and being patient while eating is important.

Take more sips of water throughout your meal and set your silverware down often to pace yourself, instead of shoveling that delicious Thanksgiving dinner into your mouth without even tasting it.

Unless you have a begging dog by your side, no one is trying to take your food from you. You have lots of time to eat your meal, so you might as well slow it down and fully enjoy it.

2. Eat portioned meals throughout the day.
A common misconception about meals is that you’re supposed to be eating three large ones throughout the day. This might work for some people, but it could lead to overeating at mealtimes because you were holding back from other foods throughout the day, strengthening your hunger.

If this is you, try eating five small meals during your day instead of three. It’s important to start the day with a healthy breakfast. Then, go ahead and have some fruit and yogurt as a 10 a.m. snack to hold you over until your lunch break. The same thing goes for dinner: enjoy that granola bar and carrot sticks with hummus at about three o’clock before suppertime in the evening. It’s important to space out your mealtimes throughout the day so you don’t feel like you’re “starving” by dinner, making yourself overeat.

3. Determine if you’re really hungry or actually bored.
I can’t be the only college student out there that struggles with this one! Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell whether your body is actually hungry and telling you that it needs some energy and fuel, or if you’re just bored and looking for something to do, so raiding the fridge seems like a reasonable answer.

Some advice? Keep yourself busy! By staying out of the kitchen and somewhere else with your mind on other things, it’s easier to avoid this problem. Hang with some friends, do your homework in a place where food won’t distract you, or get outside or in the gym to keep yourself occupied in situations where you want to eat, but don’t need to.

4. Drink LOTS of water.
Consuming plenty of water throughout the day makes our bodies feel more full, rather than the alternative. Sometimes we think we’re hungry, when actually we just need more water!

Buying a reusable water bottle and carrying it with you wherever you go, whether it be in class, at work or hanging out with friends, and sipping on it throughout that time is such an easy way to hydrate yourself. Your body is made up of about 60% of water… it needs it! Keep downing that water during your day and it will help you feel fuller for longer.

5. Obtain a healthy mindset.
Ultimately, a healthy diet and lifestyle is a mental process. By limiting and simply telling yourself “no” in situations where you know you can avoid those extra calories, you’re one step closer to avoid overeating. It’s a difficult thing to do, and takes a lot of strength to walk away from your second slice of Grandma’s specialty pumpkin pie with extra homemade whipped cream. However, you’ll thank yourself later.

Leaving the room and even brushing your teeth after a meal could make you forget about the leftover food and feel less desire to eat it. But in the end, it’s all in your head! It’s up to you whether you decide to reach for the extra scoop of mashed potatoes or not.

Overeating is something that is extremely difficult to put a stop to. I mean come on, who doesn’t love eating? It’s when you’re happiest! But, managing portion sizes is crucial in order to keep the food you’re consuming doing its job: keeping yourself feeling energized, not groggy.

Following these simple tips and tricks, can make sure overeating can be stopped in your life and finally become a thing of the past, making you a happier and healthier person!