Eat Well, Feel Well
It is a well-known fact that unhealthy eating leads to physical health problems, but what many don’t realize is the effects of unhealthy eating on our mental health. On their website that provides advice for college students regarding mental health support, the University of Michigan claims that diet affects your mood and how you react to stress as well as your ability to learn, remember, and think (“Nutrition”). Check out their website for all the details! To develop better eating habits that could improve both your mental and physical health, U of M offers several helpful tips to get your body and your mind on their way to feeling better.
Take note of what you’re currently eating. U of M suggests to keep a “food diary for one week, writing down what, when, and how much you’re eating” (“Nutrition”). They suggest using an online nutritional website called “Supertracker” which offers a personalized, user-friendly way of tracking your eating habits and creating your food diary. Check it out here.
Eat at the same times daily. (See the U of M website for detailed tips on how to develop a meal schedule as a busy college student).
Make smart choices. This one is coming from me. I know that the urge to grab something quick from a local fast food restaurant, convenience store, or gas station is oh-so-tempting after a long day at school. To avoid this, I try to follow the tips that I mentioned above to help me make better choices. I pack my lunch; eat little snacks throughout the day; and, at the beginning of each week, I try to map out what I am having for breakfast and dinner each day. These small planning tips take the guesswork and therefore the stress out of meal planning.
Make a Plan
Develop a diet plan. Again, they take the guess work out of it for you and suggest using the United States Department of Agricultures Choose My Plate website to help you personalize an eating plan and help you make nutritious choices.
Don’t overeat. Instead, U of M suggests eating small meals often, packing healthy in-between snacks, and only eating when you are truly hungry. Listen to what your body is telling you. When you’re hungry eat! When you’re full, stop!
Don’t deprive yourself from your favorite things. Moderation is key. Have a donut on a Monday morning, or eat wings on a Friday night. Just do your best to make healthy eating choices more often than you indulge (“Nutrition”)
As tempting as it can be to reach for that bag of chips, box of cookies, or (for me) pint of ice cream or a way too expensive bowl of frozen yogurt from Cherry Berry (those toppings! Snow Caps, Nerds, and marshmallows, oh my!), remind yourself that you are in control! I have found that when I choose to eat healthy, not only do I feel better physically and mentally, but I also feel empowered knowing that I am making choices to improve my health. Check out HelpGuide.org’s Help Yourself to Greater Health and Happiness to get more insight on just how beneficial developing healthy eating habits is for your overall well-being.
Heidi Ashcroft is a recent graduate of Central Michigan University’s English Language and Literature Master of Art’s Program. She lives in Midland, Michigan with her husband, Steve and their two dogs Rollie and Rudy. She enjoys walking with her dogs, snuggling with her dogs, and petting her dogs. She also enjoys the outdoors, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
Central Michigan University respects the diversity of values and opinions held by members of its community. The views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of Central Michigan University or its officers and trustees. The content of this page has not been reviewed or approved by Central Michigan University, and the author is solely responsible for its content.