Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet as a student can be a true challenge, especially if you don’t have the time, skills or motivation to cook. Developing a conscious way of eating, however, can not only improve your look but also your mood and study performance! So, it is definitely worth a try! I came up with some tips and tricks on how healthy living and eating can be easy and fun!
1. Love your diet!
Let’s be honest, the moment you hear the words ‘low carb’ or ‘low fat’ you can’t stop yourself from rolling your eyes. I mean how are you supposed to never eat pizza again??
In my opinion, the moment you forbid yourself something, you start craving it even more. You might be able to resist for a while but in the end, you are going to eat it anyways. And that’s okay! Simply, find a diet that is maintainable for you. So, maybe introduce a cheat day, count calories, make a meal plan or set weekly goals. Whatever works for you!
2. Shop local!
Ever went to one of those Turkish supermarkets? Or to the veggie store in your neighborhood? Trust me, you will find many fresh ingredients way cheaper than in the major supermarkets.
3. Vary your meals!
Pasta is great. We all love it. But there are so many more recipes out there you could try! So have a look at Pinterest for some inspiration. There are many easy recipes for student budgets available. Also, a great way of mixing up your diet is to shop those veggies or meat products that are on sale. You will find yourself buying stuff you would usually not even look at (and at the same time save money!).
5. Drink more (water)!
Students are great at drinking, especially coffee and everything that contains alcohol. However, water is not too bad either! Make sure to keep hydrated as you go through your day by bringing water with you. I personally drink roughly one liter before leaving my house in the morning. The water fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins, gives your brain fuel, and may even make you eat less.
6. Limit your coffee consumption!
I know it’s hard but limiting your caffeine intake can have great benefits! Firstly, it saves you a shit load of money. Secondly, it improves your mood. I mean did you always feel grumpy before your morning coffee?
Last but not least, the caffeine you do consume will work better. If you consume caffeine on a daily basis, your body will build up a tolerance. Quitting resets your body’s caffeine tolerance, allowing it to work really well on the occasions you really need it to.
7. Create a routine!
I personally hate lists and plans BUT when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a busy student they come in quite handy. I am not saying you need to create an ultimate meal plan for the whole week (although that might be your way!) but there are some simple tips to create a good routine:
- Do your grocery shopping once a week. It will save you money and time!
- Cook for several days in advance.
- Plan time to prepare your lunch in the evenings. Don’t spend your money on expensive cafeteria food!
- Go to bed at the time.
- Set yourself fixed ‘study’, ‘fun’, ‘sport’ etc. hours.
Once again, you need to do it your way. Not everything works for everyone!
7. Move that booty!
Okay, this won’t come as a surprise but exercises are good for you! Extremely good to be honest. And I know, after a long day at Uni or work the last thing you want to do are push-ups and burpees. But daily exercise boosts your mood, relieve stress and increase your concentration and productivity. So, take a walk (or run), go to the gym, have a workout at home or simply take your bike instead of the bus (the Dutch way…). Just mooooove that body!
8. Healthy fats are your friend!
Honestly, I live for healthy fats! They fill you up, boost your mood, improve your skin and so much more! So, make sure you include some sort of healthy fat in every meal. So, use ingredients like avocado, nuts and seeds, olives, salmon, tuna, dark chocolate (YES, chocolate can be healthy!), tofu, chia seeds and eggs. And the best thing: All of those products are rather cheap to buy!
9. Be honest with your friends!
Sometimes it can be hard to live healthily and be social at the same time. After all, you don’t want to miss out on that night our or early morning kebab. Telling your friends, however, that you are seriously trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, can have a big impact. They might agree to make homemade pizza instead of ordering Dominos or actually join you for a workout. Just keep in might they can’t smell that you want to change something! Be honest and involve them actively!
10. It’s all about balance!
All the tips you’ve read have one thing in common: the right balance. You won’t be able to ONLY shop locally, JUST drink water, ALWAYS stick to your routine, NEVER consume caffeine, go to the gym ALL THE TIME or mix up your meals DAILY.
In my opinion, that is completely normal and also part of being healthy. It is most important to listen to your body and do what feels right for you. So, don’t feel bad about eating that pizza or drinking that coffee! Develop a certain feeling and awareness of what your body needs and act accordingly.
I hope these tips will help you to integrate a healthy lifestyle.
However, I am not guaranteeing anything, after all, I’m experimenting a lot in terms of health and fitness myself!
More interesting articles about the life in Utrecht, the Dutch culture or lifestyle hacks can be found on the ESN blog. We post twice a week to keep you updated!