Too Stressed to Eat: The College Student Diet

Hey everyone, hope your day is going as great as mine! And I hope you made it to the polls as well.

Today I want to talk about a topic a lot of college students may ignore: proper eating habits. As we all know, college students are (for lack of a better word) broke. They can hardly afford to hit the grocery store weekly, let alone take the time out to prepare a delicious, nutritious meal. The food from the cafeteria …tries its best to be a healthy substitute, but can only do so much, especially at smaller, poorer universities. As a result, college students spend a lot of time cramming fast food and other junk into their diets to satisfy that hunger.

Numerous studies show that college students in the US tend to eat less fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, opting for higher calorie, high fat snacks. A study by the American College Health Association revealed that a mere 7.3% of students eat 5 or more servings of fruits or vegetables daily. Doing so can cause students to become malnourished, leading to mineral deficiencies.

So why do students eat so poorly? Many cite cost as the primary reason, others purely for taste, and still others for convenience. Regardless of the reason, one thing is clear: we have to start promoting healthy eating habits at universities. While focusing on academics is important, obesity rates are still rising and show no signs of slowing down. If we can show our future leaders the value of dietary health, perhaps when they move into the workforce as leaders and educators, they’ll bring their knowledge of healthy eating with them and pass it onward. It may be wishful thinking, but the obesity epidemic MUST be halted, and the best way to start is talking to the youth.

Why do you think college students eat so poorly? What do you think we can do to change them? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Until next time,

Dr. Chaos, signing off

Grad students and regular exercise: Is it actually feasible?

Today I’ll be covering a topic that most of us have encountered in our journey of health and fitness: time. As graduate students, we are busy for the majority of our day. Between research, meetings, TA assignments, writing, studying, and of course, attending classes, there’s hardly time to eat a meal much less fit in a workout. So how is it possible to be an outstanding student while having an active lifestyle? This problem has plagued me for many years, but I believe the key is to simply MAKE time. Hear me out:

Despite a busy schedule, we all have certain activities that we make time for, be it as trivial as a watching a TV show, or meaningful as spending time with a loved one. We prioritize them. If you are having trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, what you should ask yourself is not “How can I fit in a workout?” but “Is working out important to me?”. If you feel like fitness is something you truly wish to incorporate into your life (which has numerous proven health benefits) then begin by following these steps.

  1. Devote 45 minutes to an hour 3 times a week to exercising.
  2. Try and center each workout around the same time each day, so that you can establish a habit.
  3. Choose a time that works with you as an graduate student. Do you prefer to knock it out early and start your day more energized? Or would you rather use your workout to relieve the stress of the day and wind down for the evening.
  4. Stick with your established workout schedule for at least 1 month. Habit-forming is key. If you begin to associate working out with your daily routine, you’ll find it much easier to dedicate time to it.

Grad students are traditionally overworked, stressed, and all-around tired.  By incorporating regular exercise into our lives, we can improve our sleeping habits, reduce overall stress levels, and lead healthier lives while we contribute to higher education. Not to mention the numerous physiological benefits (to be covered in a different post).

 

As always, these are just my thoughts, and I would love to hear yours! Is it possible for a graduate student to incorporate regular exercise into our lives? or are we too busy entirely?

This is Dr. Chaos, signing off ~