How do you stay healthy in college?

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Answered by: Jessica, An Expert in the Health and Wellbeing Category
Staying healthy in college while balancing classes, clubs, and parties can be difficult—but it can be done. A few key guidelines can keep you feeling healthy and energized for that 8 a.m. class.

First, take advantage of the school gym. Gyms can be expensive, and it's likely you have one at your fingertips for free. Take advantage of it! For beginners, a half hour on the elliptical while paging through a magazine can be a good start. If you aren't into traditional fitness, walk to class, take the stairs, or take dance classes. Avoid buses and elevators if possible. Or download fitness videos from iTunes (I know you have gift cards from Christmas)—this way, you can be fit in the "privacy" of your own dorm room.

In terms of eating, always eat breakfast, and try to include some fruit in your first meal. Starting off in a healthy manner sets a positive tone for the day. Throughout the day, eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Even if it is pizza at midnight, this is a good way to keep portion control in mind while enjoying the necessities of college life.

At the dining hall, try your best to stay away from fried foods. If your college is nice enough to post nutritional information next to the food, pay attention to it! Watch for fat content, calories, and salt. Try to always get a salad with dinner to increase your veggie intake. In terms of dessert, having a cookie is totally okay—just remember portion control, portion control, portion control. Try not to have five cookies, for example. Enjoy everything in moderation.

Drinking in college is almost inevitable, but drinking too much can seriously damage your health. In terms of weight management and academic performance, try to limit yourself to drinking only on the weekends. Starting to drink on a Tuesday night can be a slippery slope. Enjoy yourself, but remember the nutritional information of beer and other drinks. 5 beers will likely set you back 600+ calories—that's a lot of time on the elliptical! Try light beers, hit up skinny cocktail options, or limit yourself to two or three drinks. A calorie splurge here and there is not a problem—but doing so consistently will hurt your health.

In terms of health safety, play it on the safe side when it comes to drinking and driving. This often means staying with friends you trust to take the keys away from you (even if they are drunk themselves). If you are just starting to drink in college, learn your limit, and try your best to not go above it. Although this is hard while celebrating your hard work, you will thank yourself for it later. Staying healthy in college often means hanging out with the right people, and you don't want a friend pressuring you into your tenth shot or a drive home at 2 am. If you want to be healthy, hanging out with like minded friends will help a lot.

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