Diab-EATING Mindfully Through College

Emily Cook, Alumna of Purdue University CDN Chapter: DiaBeat It

Between finishing assignments, studying for exams, writing reports, staying involved in extracurricular activities, staying in shape, having a social life AND managing diabetes,maintaining a healthy eating regiment is often something that can be pushed to the wayside during college. So, how do you balance your diet while balancing everything else in your life? Here are a few tips that could help keep your eating habits in check:

1.      Plan, Plan, and Plan a Little More!

With the busy, fluctuating schedules of college students, fitting in time for meals can be hard. This is why planning when you will be eating is SO important for your health! A consistent eating pattern can increase your focus and give your brain the energy that it needs in order to accomplish your tasks at hand. If you know that you will be away from your dorm or apartment, be sure to pack food or bring money so that you will be able to nourish yourself while meeting those deadlines!
Planning can be things like meal prep as well. If you know that you will have a busy week, but want to stay healthy in your habits, then you can prepare some food ahead of time. There are a lot of great foods out to help with diabetes management, like KNOW Foods, which are gluten free, often low-carb, packed with beneficial nutrients, and will help minimize spikes after meals. Preparing your own food is the perfect way to make a little bit of planning go a long way!

2.      Begin Your Day with Breakfast

One common misconception is that skipping breakfast can help you get ahead. However, your body actually functions more optimally when you have had something to eat after waking up in the morning. When your body has been resting for seven to eight hours, you are not getting any nutrition from eating (unless you have a low blood sugar in the middle of the night!). Breakfast gets its name from the fact that you are “breaking the fast” by waking up the systems integral to your body’s metabolism. This meal doesn’t have to be omelets and pancakes, but it can simply be a granola bar, banana, or a Know Foods (which I mentioned above) waffle or muffin thrown in the toaster or microwave. Not to mention, this can also help to regulate blood sugar, which will set you in the right direction throughout your day.

3.      Dining Hall Do’s

Dining halls often provide seemingly endless options for you at each meal time. Sometimes, these options may not be the most nutritiously-dense, and selecting too many of these foods can catch up with you after awhile. Easy ways to select healthier options include opting for a grilled option instead of a fried option. Additionally, including a fruit or vegetable can provide nutrients and vitamins that cannot be obtained from other foods, like grains.

Depending on your dining options, some dining halls will have a flat rate and you can pick as much food as you would like. This can be a fantastic and dangerous accommodation. Keeping control of your portions is key! Just because you may have the option to eat as much as you want, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to fill your plate multiple times during each meal.

Many dining halls will also provide nutritional information, and if they are not readily available, often times someone can provide this information so that you are making well-informed decisions on what you are eating.

4.      Forego (Some of) the Fried Foods

College campuses are normally jam-packed with easily accessible fast-food restaurants. Just because these establishments are at your disposal doesn’t mean you need to dine at these places all the time! Again, most foods are fine in moderation, but having control is an essential component of this balance. If you know that you may have trouble passing up some greasy food on your way home from class, try walking a different way where you wouldn’t be passing by these places. Also, making sure that you have already eaten before encountering these places can help strengthen your resistance.

By following these healthful hints, you can navigate through the eating options at any college campus. Food is an integral part of our lives, and we should have a positive attitude about it. Eating should be an enjoyable experience and with the right mindset, you will be on your way to a happy-go-healthy college journey!

Editor’s note: Know Foods is a corporate partner of the College Diabetes Network and Emily was able to try KNOW products as a benefit of this partnership. For more information on this partnership and Know Foods, click here

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