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When students get their first taste of freedom at college, many changes come up. One of which is having to provide meals and being responsible for what they eat. The freshman 15 may start turning into the freshman 30 if students don’t take steps to healthier eating. Many college students have poor eating habits due to eating out and low intake of fruits and vegetables.
There are a lot of reasons why having a healthy diet can benefit college students. When students commit to a healthy diet, it can increase energy levels, get sick less, cope with stress better and improve concentration and performance in school. Lots of college student diet statistics show the data on how it can affect them.
Why College Students Eat Out So Much
Most students are set up in a dorm for the first year or two of their college experience. These do not provide a way to cook other than a microwave. This can limit options to what students can eat. Besides not having the resources to cook nutritional meals, it comes down to other external factors.
How Much Time Available
If students try to stick to a three-meal-a-day schedule, data shows they only have about four hours of free time to do activities outside school, work and sleep. They have to rush to get in quick meals for each time of the day in between classes and school obligations. When you don’t even have time to eat, it can be hard to focus on the nutrition aspect of it.
Convenience Of Take-Out
Instead of spending time creating a meal, grabbing food is way easier and quicker for students. On the way back from a class using a meal swipe is a solution to eating quick and getting back to studies. Most of the time these options do not have a lot of healthy options or the students just choose the unhealthier food on the menu.
Cost Of Groceries
Fast food is notorious for being a cheap and quick option. You can get a whole meal for less than going to the store. There are some ways around eating healthy on a budget to not sacrifice your nutrition. Although your options can be limited due to the lack of resources to cook a full meal.
College Student Diet Statistics
College weight gain is most commonly caused due to the transition of life. When becoming an adult, you take control of your own dietary habits that may have been set in place for you your whole life. Some unhealthy eating behaviors like skipping breakfast, irregular meals, and little fruit and vegetable intake can lead to weight gain. Here are some statistics about these issues.
- Young adults eat less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Frequent visits to fast food restaurants were significantly higher in overweight students
- During the first 3-4 months, college students gain 1.5-6.8 pounds by the end of the semester.
- 24.3% of NYU students are overweight and 6% are obese.
What You Can Do
You can take steps to better your eating patterns. There are low-effort ways to go around this like choosing fruit for a side instead of fries. Ditch the soft drink for water or choose a healthier alternative on the menu.
The bottom line is it may take a mindset switch but taking care of yourself is one of the major parts of being an adult. Choose healthy options over the ones that may be more convenient or appetizing could lead to a range of health issues. This is not to say you can’t indulge in unhealthy foods here and there but keep it to a limit.