Recently, I've made exercise and my health a top priority and with that I've had to make some lifestyle changes. I love a tasty McChicken just as much as the next person, but I also love my body and I understand that food is fuel.
Thinking about how much junk people, especially college students, put into their bodies on a daily basis is really frightening to me. I hear people talking every day about going to Taco Bell or getting shakes to "treat yourself," and although I also have cravings, it's so important to control them.
I'm not a nutritionist or a doctor by any means, but I do know what is good for my body and what isn't.
Here are some ways to avoid eating out and, in turn, avoiding unhealthy decisions:
Eat at your local Publix, Lucky's Market, or Fresh Market's - use their express lanes, hot bars, etc. and find fresh, healthy food that won't break the bank or make you feel bad later.
Pack your meals/meal prep - planning ahead for your busy day/week is so important, especially in college. So, if you know you're going to be on campus all day, make a salad or sandwich and bring it with you. This beats waiting in the Chick-Fil-A line any day.
Say you do go out or you only have time to cook some nights, keep your left-overs and reheat them later! Most of the time when you go to restaurants, you'll pay for way too large of a serving for one meal and one person. So keep those extras for the next day, and save money and time.
Think about how good you feel after eating a burrito bowl with extra guac and cheese from Chipotle and compare that to how you feel after eating homemade chicken and veggies. Making the conscience effort to eat and live healthier will not only help you save money but you will feel so much better.
Whether you workout three times a week or can't even remember the last time you hit the gym, the food that you're fueling your body with is worth thinking about. So, instead of getting the crunchwrap supreme from Taco Bell, maybe consider making homemade tacos or just settling for a healthier alternative.
In college, everyone is busy and usually crunched for time. So, because sometimes it's hard to say no when your friends are going out or you have to get something quick, here are some of my favorite healthier alternatives:
Wendy's — Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, full size (480 calories)
McDonald's — Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich (380 calories)
Taco Bell — Chicken Burrito Supreme, "Fresco Style" (340 calories)
Panera — Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken (340 calories)
Dunkin' Donuts — Egg-White Veggie Flatbread (280 calories)
Subway — 6-inch Turkey Breast Sub, no cheese, add avocado (340 calories)
Starbucks — Spinach, Feta, and Cage-Free Egg-White Breakfast Wrap (290 calories)
For the sake of your own health and wellbeing, challenge yourself to be more mindful about what you put into your body and why you are eating out as often as us college students tend to. I don't believe in fad diets or making any crazy changes, but consider this: You only have one body. What you're doing with it now will affect you for the rest of your life.