Snacking is so common among college students that research teams actually conduct regular studies on the eating behavior of students! So, what have they found? Well, it turns out that a significant portion of the participants actually had poor snacking tendencies.
Now, if you were to examine your own snacking habits, you would probably see that this is true for you as well. The good news is that it is pretty easy to get back on track. If you want to learn the dos and don’ts of college students’ favorite pastime, just follow these tips below:
1. Always Prepare in Advance
While you may plan out your mealtimes, there is a good chance that you are probably pretty flexible when it comes to your snack time. This is because hunger pangs can often hit you out of nowhere. Then, you scramble to find the nearest vending machine to grab something to nibble on.
The problem here, of course, is that vending machine fare isn’t exactly all that healthy. And if you are Muslim, then you have another point to worry about. You can’t guarantee that all of these items will be halal.
It is for these reasons that you should always keep snacks on you. This way, when hunger strikes, you will have something tasty and healthy to reach for. Not to mention, you can also cut down on the risk of you getting hungry while you go out searching for food!
2. Know What Your Healthy Options Are
As mentioned, it’s best to stick to healthy snacks as much as possible. While there’s certainly no harm in indulging in chocolate and sweets on occasion, try not to make a habit of it. Otherwise, you may find that the dreaded Freshman Fifteen will follow you until you graduate.
So, what constitutes a healthy snack? Well, contrary to popular belief, healthy doesn’t always have to mean boring or tasteless. Instead, it is just about keeping an eye on the ingredients that go into various food items. Try to stay away from products that have high amounts of sugar, sodium, fat, and similar ingredients.
Instead, look for foods that contain real fruits, nuts, and grains. If you are looking to amp up your protein intake, then jerky is a great way to go. In case you want to be really good, carry around bags of nuts, sunflower seeds, and dried fruits with you.
3. Watch the Calories
Most students assume that healthy foods are automatically low in calories. Well, this isn’t always the case. This is why it is a good idea to see just how many calories any snack contains. After all, snacks are something you eat in-between meals so you should avoid going overboard.
So, just how many calories should each of your snacks contain? This does depend on several factors including how many calories you must consume every day and whether or not you are following any fitness or diet regimen.
On average, though, try to keep your snacks to about 100 to 200 calories a day. This should be fairly easy because most bars fall into this range. If you have a larger pack on hand, do the calculations and divide the food up accordingly.
4. Focus on Filling Snacks
The whole point of eating a snack is to tide you over until your next meal. Due to this, you should focus on snacks that will help fill you up. Otherwise, you will just end up hungry again and be reaching for even more food.
Foods with healthy fats – such as nuts – help to keep you satisfied. Whole grains and anything with high fiber content can also work to keep the hunger pangs at bay as well. Try to stay away from foods that are overly processed or contain a lot of sugar.
5. Be Sensible with Nighttime Snacks
For some reason or another, your cravings can feel particularly strong at nighttime. If you are up late, cramming, you are probably going to feel it even more. However, you need to be careful about what you eat at this time.
If you are studying, make sure that whatever you select will actually work as fuel rather than just give you a sugar high. In case you are planning on going to sleep in the next few hours, you should be mindful of your digestion. If you don’t want to toss and turn all night, opt for natural, easily digestible foods.
6. Choose Your Drinks Carefully
Sometimes, your snacks come in liquid form. This happens quite often if there are plenty of cafes or coffee shops near your campus. You may find yourself waiting in line for those fancy coffees a couple of times a day. Or, you may get your caffeine in other ways like sodas and energy drinks.
Well, it is probably a good idea to try and wean yourself off that habit. Most drinks tend to be high in sugar and be loaded up with plenty of other unhealthy drinks. What’s more, they can contain quite a number of calories as well.
Your best option is water – make sure to drink several glasses a day so that you stay hydrated. Now, there is no denying that water isn’t always satisfying, particularly when you are hungry. So, at times like this, indulge in some flavored sparkling water to curb those cravings.
7. Snack Mindfully
This may sound like a rather Zen thing to say but it definitely has merit. Think about all the times you snack and you will find that you were probably quite distracted while you were eating. Maybe you were studying, talking to friends, or sitting in front of the TV.
The problem with this is that you aren’t paying attention to what you are eating. So, once you have reached the end of your bar or bag, it can feel like nothing at all. Since you aren’t fully satiated, your first instinct may be to eat some more.
To prevent this from happening, always take a short break when eating. Take a seat if possible and slow it down. Make sure to be aware of each bite and to really savor the experience. Be conscious of the bounty of food. This way, after you are done, you will appreciate your snack a lot more.
So, this is what every college student should know about snacking. This way, you will be able to indulge healthily and with greater satisfaction too! Make sure that you keep these tips in mind while you are out there building your future and getting those A's!