Apartment Living: Tips for Staying Healthy


As a college student, it can seem impossible to eat healthy. Students constantly find themselves surrounded by fast food, are frequently on little sleep, and often turn to caffeine-loaded substances like coffee and soda for an energy pick-me-up. Combine those circumstances with living in an apartment, and eating healthy can be even more difficult.While living in apartment may seem like an inevitable slippery slope to weight gain, it does not have to be. Several students manage to enjoy apartment living without the added pounds. Because apartment living is arguably the most common mode of living on campus, it pays to know some simple ways to combat unhealthiness.College Lifestyles, a website that promotes healthy living for college students, offers several practical tips to deal with this common problem.The first and most obvious suggestion is to make a list. A weekly grocery list will prevent you from lingering around the store, deciding which things you need to buy. It is always easier to stick to a healthier meal plan when it is pre-planned. Never go shopping when you are hungry. This is the fastest way to purchase foods that you are craving and that you do not really need. A common problem that students have purchasing healthy food is that it is too expensive. While this is usually true, there are several simple ways to deal with this problem.

The first solution is to purchase items that are on sale. If you have enough time on your hands, you can even look in the weekly sales ads in the paper. Another suggestion is to forgo expensive brand name foods and opt for the generic versions. They often taste the same and are much less expensive.If you are looking to add more variety to your diet, then stop purchasing processed, boxed foods and turn to the produce aisle. Fruits and veggies are full of fiber and healthy calories, versus the “empty” calories in sugary, processed foods. There are also several substitutions you can make if you are looking for simple ways to switch up what you eat on a daily basis. Swapping out fatty dressings or toppings for lower-fat versions is a simple but effective way to cut back on saturated fats.Irene Kalaitzidis, a student of University of California-Santa Barbara, has found that the best way to stay healthy when living in an apartment is by following rules like this.

“My roommates and I always use olive oil instead of butter,” says Kalaitzidis. “We also try to stick with balanced meals of proteins, greens, and carbs.”

Snacking can also be a huge problem in an apartment-living situation. No one wants to cook a healthy meal every time they are hungry, so it can be easy to turn to sweets or chips when hungry in between meals.

“Buying fruits and nuts instead of sweets is a great way to avoid snacking,” says Kalaitzidis.

Because most college students are busy and on a tight schedule, it can seem like the biggest road-block to healthy eating is time itself. Between class, extracurriculars, and a social life, who has time to cook a healthy meal? College Lifestyles suggests “cooking and freezing” food in bulk. For example, cooking an entire box of spaghetti, and then reheating it later in the week. Reheating meat later in the week is also an option if you cook too much at one time.

At the same time, you need to be careful you don’t end up eating everything you were supposed to “save” at once. For some students, the best way to go about staying healthy is to eat everything in small portions.

Melissa Karigan, a University of Illinois student, thinks that the easiest way to prevent yourself from overeating is to avoid buying food in excess.

“I only buy what I think I will eat,” says Karigan. “I try to cook small portions, or else I am more likely to eat everything I cook at once.”

Everyone has their own eating habits and for this reason, it is always to best to take time to gauge your own triggers and behaviors. Take some time to sit down and think about the answers to these questions:

Which foods do I always regret eating or buying?

Which foods leave me tired and cranky?

Which foods do I buy and never end up eating?

Which foods are the least expensive but the healthiest?

Which foods do I need to stop buying completely?

Which foods do I need to start buying for my apartment?

If you really take the time to answer these questions, you will find yourself much more aware of your own habits and be more prepared to deal with your own worst food enemy: yourself.

Read about healthy apartment living on a budget at College Lifestyles.

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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Lifestyle, Your Nutrition

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