Eating well in college isn’t always easy with junk food surrounding you from all corners. But by keeping your mind on those end goals whether it’s building muscles or reducing body fat, you’ll be able to overcome the nutrition hurdles in college with ease while still having a good time.
Want to know how? Well then, take your seats, grab yourself a notebook because the class is about to begin.
How should you approach nutrition in college?
You’re young and still growing. Your metabolism is fast, you don’t need to get stressed about counting each and every meal. But even so, good nutrition sets the foundation to build a smoother path for the rest of your life. Your diet has a huge impact on your results, your mood and your overall health, and as such you need to eat properly for your mental and physical performance. In case, you have never learnt the basics, there are three fundamental nutrients that make up whole foods – proteins, carbohydrates and fats, they all play a variety of roles within the body but we’re going to keep it simple for now.
Protein – Is required for muscle repair and tissue damage, essential for building lean mass.
Carbohydrates – Are the body’s preferred source of energy. Carbohydrates usually come in two forms – complex and simple. We’ll touch on that a little bit later.
Fats – Are crucial for your hormone production, health, skincare, and hair-care and to protect your vital organs, and fats can also be used by the body for energy.
Your diet should be composed primarily of quality lean proteins. Items like fish, chicken, lean cuts of meat, eggs and whey protein are great for building lean mass. Complex carbohydrates are also very important. Vegetables, sweet potatoes, oat meal, brown breads and cereals keep you feeling fuller for longer periods. There are some more foodstuffs in there that are great source of anti-oxidants, vitamins and nutrients.
Things to stay clear from include – highly processed foods and sweets like candy (just in case you have a sweet tooth). Fats are very important but you need healthy fat to combat that “bad” fat. Items like fish oil and olive oil are great fats to have.
How often should you eat and how important is meal frequency?
As a college student you’re going to be very busy, but you need to get those meals in. Make sure when you wake up you have a wholesome breakfast since you’ll have to study and so need that mental edge. Many college students tend to grab something on their way to class as they’re walking out the door – simply try to avoid this.
Since college is fast paced and hectic, it can be very tough to count calories every single day. Aim to get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Let’s say, if you weigh 200 pounds, try to get 200 grams of protein each day. This isn’t always easy but by eating right and supplementing yourself with protein sources you’ll be able to reach your target. And if you’re really looking to add muscle fast, pump it up to 1.5 grams per pound and hit the weights really hard.
Like I said before, you don’t have to count calories. But if you are looking to dig deep and go into the details, multiply your weight by 17.5. The number that you get, gives you a rough estimate of how many calories you should be eating per day. If you’re 200 pounds, for example, you should consume 3500 calories on an average. From here, break it down – 40% protein, 40% carbs and the remaining 20% should be fats. To achieve this balance having 6 small meals over the course of the day, rather than 3 large meals is the way to go.
Sounds like a lot huh? I’ll let you digest these facts for now, since the recess bell has rung and meet you after the break for an interesting finale…