Troubleshooting Convenient Eating

Whether your goal is fat loss, muscle gain or improving athletic performance, a huge barrier to eating correctly is time. With so much on our plate, it seems nearly impossible to squeeze in a healthy diet. It’s easier to pick up fast food before class than to rise early and make an immense breakfast.

Maybe you think it’s too expensive to eat healthily, and fast food is both a convenient and cheap alternative. Don’t be fooled into thinking that eating out is a frugal practice. It may seem like a great deal on an advertisement, but you’d save money buying something similar at the grocery store.

Transform your mindset. Having a full – and fun – schedule and a healthy diet aren’t opposing objectives. Here are a few general tips for the overly swamped student looking to eat better, with minimal extra effort.

All College Students

Problem – Not prepared. It’s easy to eat out because most students don’t have a clue where their next meal is coming from.

Solution – Take a few minutes at night to plan a quick breakfast like a shake, oatmeal or fruit. Make your own trail mix to snack on between classes. Having these ready to go makes it easy to bypass the alternative.

Problem – No routine

Solution – Stick with it and make it a habit. It may seem foreign to pack almonds and animal crack¬ers for a snack instead of grabbing a high calorie muffin or cookie, but becomes easy once it’s a part of the everyday routine.

Fat Loss

Problem – Quick, low calorie options

Solution – Quick food doesn’t always mean high calories. Stock up on fruits, Greek yogurt, high-fiber bars, and almonds for nutrient rich snacks that combat hunger. There are even plenty of frozen lunch/ dinners that are moderately low in calories, while not ideal; these are a step up from most restaurant chains and just as quick.

Muscle Gain

Problem – Can’t gain weight. While working out is important to gain muscle, the other 23 hours of the day is crucial. It may seem like you “eat a lot,” but exercising for hours every day, on top of an already active lifestyle, results in high caloric needs.

Solution – Eat calorically dense foods.

Building muscle requires a surplus of calories, and although it may seem counterintuitive, eating “junk” can help reach that target. If you’re restricted to only fruits, vegetables and whole-grains weight gain without a debilitated stomach will be difficult. Make it easier by adding in foods like peanut butter, Pop-Tarts, ice cream and bagels. Don’t overdo it or else fat will accumulate like stress during finals. Take it slow, watch the mirror and scale aptly.