Ideas for food on the go

Alissa Atkinson

As busy college students, it can seem difficult to find time to practice healthy eating habits.

When in a hurry, many students choose to take advantage of the convenience that fast food offers rather than searching for healthier options.

With a little planning, finding quick, effortless snacks and meals for the busy student is simple. The direct effect our eating habits have on our bodies is often overlooked. Aside from the physical affects food has on our bodies, what we choose to eat influences both behavior and mood.

“I believe that when we eat healthier we feel better about ourselves,” said Lauren Clark, junior in psychology. “Healthy eating in general is a display of the type of lifestyle and the type of care I want to put toward myself. I believe the better we eat the better we think, the better we feel and the better we live.”

Michelle Jennings, sophomore in elementary education, said when she eats unhealthily she feels bloated and as if she needs to work out.

“When I feel this way I don’t feel comfortable in my body, which lowers my self esteem,” Jennings said. “When I eat healthy it puts me in a much better mood. I think that this is because I am proud of myself for making a good decision. I also feel lighter and more active when I eat healthy, which boosts my self confidence.”

Eating breakfast is very important to your health — numerous studies have shown that skipping breakfast detracts from scholastic achievement. There are plenty of healthy breakfast options for students in a hurry.

For lunch, making a sandwich or soup is a smart choice. Try turkey or ham sandwiches with low-fat cheese and either light or no mayo and on wheat or multi-grain bread. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a bag of baked chips or a side of fruit is another healthy option. Clark recommended tuna sandwiches, Lean Pockets and Campbell’s Soup At Hand cups.

For a quick dinner, stir fry is a good choice. Using steamed rice instead of fried rice will help cut back on the fat. Add lots of vegetables and either beef or chicken. Salads are also quick and fairly easy to make — grilled chicken Caesar salads are a healthy option and steak Caesar salads are great for more substance. When applying dressing, choose the light or non-fat dressings. A small sirloin steak with steamed vegetables is also a healthy choice.

Clark suggested unbuttered popcorn and fresh fruit as healthy snacks. Granola bars and pretzels are other healthy options. Drinking juice and water is important to health as well. Studies have shown a minimum of eight glasses of water a day is necessary to maintain good health.

When drinking juice, read the label to be sure it contains 100 percent juice rather than juice from concentrate. Try orange juice with calcium and lots of pulp. Drink skim milk and try to include ample amounts of low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese in your diet. Taking calcium supplements is also an option.