Happy to see you here and you also will be happy to know that this post is going to show you a good eating habit or a healthy meal plan which surely will boost your fitness. As a fitness lover, you must know that a meal plan, which is best and suitable for students may not be fit for a celebrity and also the meal plan while staying at home and the healthy diet while enjoying the outdoor are not same.
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As a student, you may live in a hostel. You also enjoy hangout with your friends at the weekend. But, above all, if you love your fitness and don’t want to lose your great shape, you then need to follow and maintain a really good eating habit to maintain your friendship and you know “Life is impossible without Friends”. So, let’s check out the details below.
Meal plans for on-campus students:
A couples of days ago, I came across an article written in “The Globe and Mail” with respect to university and college meal plans offered to on-campus students. Judging by the flurry of discussion in the comments area, this is a pretty hot topic for anyone concerned. Do kids tend to eat more wisely when on the plan, or will the responsibility of cooking better promote good habits and keener health?
The issue was clear and that is, should we be encouraging college kids to sign up to a meal plan, or to cook their stuff on their own? Which, if any, is the better choice to help students eat nutritious food?
Convenience Vs. Nutritional Value:
From where I stand, I can tell you that what we “should” be encouraging students to do is far different than what actually ends up happening. Obviously the healthier option is, I think that first and foremost, convenience and accessibility tend to trump nutrition. I’m speaking with specific reference to college life and first-time cookers.
If you’re living on your own for the first time and have only marginal experience of cooking, balancing household responsibilities, schoolwork, and social activities, then of course the idea of slaving over a hot stove is going to deter you at least at first.
For most students in this category, what’s easiest is the best choice. So, regardless of if it’s the meal plan or not, the quickest and tastiest will be sitting at the top of the food pyramid. In my current wisdom as a recent graduate, of course I can say that you’ll better benefit from cooking your own stuff in the long run. But if I didn’t know better (and you know, some students don’t), then yeah, I’d be back on Lean Cuisine.
It may or may not be a matter of teaching students how to cook properly prior to their great escape to university, but, as one commenter put it, “coddling” might not be the solution. The general response seemed to be that students will learn good habits through experience or not.
From personal experience, I can tell you that it gets to a point where you just get sick of eating prepared meals. My first year on my own, I was stuck on Lean Cuisine and other “not-so-lean” options. I commonly ate a lot of white bread and peanut butter and not nearly enough veggies.
Who knew that lean protein and whole grains were better choices? At that point, I only respected the numbers rather than the essential ingredients. My intuition of “healthy diet” was based on calorie count, regardless of what was actually included in the product. Soon enough, my body hated me for it, and I knew that I had to take action.
This brings me to my next point. For teens to eat healthily, they need to want to. If they’re okay with KD, then not much is going to change. If it takes gaining the Freshman Fifteen for students to initiate a change in their diet, then so be it. Often, aesthetic rather than health-related reasons are the biggest motivators for an eating makeover, so perhaps a little self-education is the best solution.
How Healthy Is That Meal Plan:
A lot of campuses now have healthy options in their cafeterias, but what exactly constitutes nutritious eating by commercial standards? Most of the time, “low-cal” options are packed with added sugars to make up for the lack of calories, which can be just as bad if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight.
In addition, ingredients that aren’t so good for achieving your weight-loss goals, such as fatty dressings and white pastas, seem to still be labelled as “healthy choices” in the campus cafs. For those who don’t have the details about which items can be potentially bad for you, it’s easy to mistake a thick cobb or bacon Caesar salad for a safe choice in the cafeteria.
The cost of convenience can be taxing as well, and if gaining the weight is not a good enough motivator to switch to grocery shopping, then perhaps the impact on the wallet will be. For the amount of protein that you should be getting to assist you in building that lean muscle (about 0.5-0.8 grams per body weight), you’ll probably need to spend at least twice as much money in the cafeteria on chicken pasta salads.
Often, in prepared foods, the ratio of carbs to protein is totally out of proportion. You get about 75% pasta, and a mere 25% protein and veggies, if you’re lucky. You know, protein is probably the more expensive ingredient, so it’s cheaper for companies to toss in more macaroni than chicken.
The funny thing is, if you buy a boneless skinless chicken breast from the grocery store, you’ll get enough protein to last you for at least a few meals at about the same price you spent for that chicken pasta salad. Overall, it’s much more frugal to buy your own ingredients, so if you’re looking to save some money for social activities during your campus stay, don’t waste your money on prepared foods.
The Benefits of D.I.Y. Eating For Students:
I’ll always be an advocate of home cooking, simply because doing so allows you to control over what goes into your body. You’re in charge of both the ingredients and the portion sizes, so you can be sure that you’re getting all the best stuff and only enough to satisfy your hunger. As the chef of your own meals, you can cut back on a heck of calories, fat, added sugars, salts, you name it. Cooking your own stuff is ultimately the best way of cleaning up your diet to help you lose fat and stay in a great shape.
From a first-timer perspective, prep and shopping take time and endeavor. If you’re stressed from studying before exam and not sure what you “should” be eating, and are just plain starving, then obviously you’re going to take the path of least resistance. To avoid slaving away over a hot stove while still reaping the benefits of home cooking, there’s many things you can do save time, including doing the prep work for the week all at once. Take an hour, save a few for the week.
I think, if there’s anything teens (and their parents) can do to help students transition into cooking their own meals, it’s to brush up on the basics prior to moving out. Knowing the staples of healthy eating provides some guidelines for what to buy and what to avoid.
For example, learning about the hidden dangers of white bread and pasta can help a first-timer differentiate between good carbs and bad. Also, understanding proper portion size is key as well. This way, even if students are forced to eat out once in a while, they can help keep a prevent overeating. Having a handle on the “what” and “how much” can provide at least some loose parametres for cooking. As a first-timer, you might not be eating meals fit for a king, but at least they’ll be more nutritious than Chef Boyardee.
Eating Better When Out With Your Friends:
Now comes the point of eating better when out with your friends to enjoy the weekend or to explore the city in which your college is located. I love going out for dinner and drinks with my friends. It’s amazing to settle into a booth or at a table with your classmates and just dish over some comfort food and a cold coffee. So it’s no surprise that we all enjoy Happy Hour as much as we do, especially after a particularly long school day. Still, no matter how bad the stress or how awesome the shots are, there are ways you can make your fun night out a wee bit better for your fitness goals.
Listen to Your Gut:
Did you ever notice how the Sunday night tendency is to order up every appetizer on the menu? This seems to happen to me, especially when in groups. Since there’s less guilt when you’re sharing a plate (or two or three) amongst others, it sounds like a good idea to get the most bang for your buck.
Besides, the onion rings, potato skins, and the deep-fried shrimp all sound good. A good way to just pick one is to try and pinpoint what you’d like to order prior to getting in the restaurant. Just reading the menu can kick your salivary glands into overdrive and cause you to go a little nuts once your server comes around. If you can, try and narrow it down to one or two general items, like chicken or beef. This way, if still undecided come dinnertime, you can check what’s actually offered by the restaurant and see which chicken or beef dish is most appetizing.
Where’s the Beef:
Beef seems to get a bad rep, but a good slab of protein for dinner can actually be a solid choice. Protein, like beef, chicken, and so forth, helps fill you up so you’ll stay satisfied without ordering extra food. Plus, it tastes damnnnnn good, so when I’m out with friends, I like to “treat” myself to a burger or a mean steak.
If possible choose the leanest cut of meat to get the taste without most of the fat. Look for burgers made from extra lean ground beef, skinless chicken breasts, and shrimp that hasn’t been deep-fried or basted in butter. If you can, keep your plate relatively clean by forgoing the deep-fried sides like onion rings or French fries in favour of a baked potato, steamed greens, or brown rice.
Sometimes, if I’m still feeling the urge to try the fries, I ask the server to plate me half of what normally goes out, or if not, I split my fries in half and give the rest to the other side of the table. This way, I can have what I want without overdoing it. This way, you can enjoy your outdoor meal with your friends without losing your control over healthy diet.
Eating After Hours To Fuel Your Fitter Body:
There’s a little something to be said about structure. I’ve always maintained that eating healthy in the hostel life which can actually be easier than staying disciplined in the hours that you spend at home, if only for two things: the proximity to the fridge and all its bounty, and the absence of planning that goes into your eating, as a result of the first point. As such, our eating habits during the off-hours tend to be a little less fitness-friendly. See how you can satisfy that hunger and stay true to your goals in the later hours.
Ditch the “Eating After 6” Rule:
Personally, I hate those diets that advocate ceasing all eating after a certain hour, usually after dinner, around 6ish. First, if you avoid eating after dinner, you’re breaking the cardinal rule of successful fitness eating. Don’t starve yourself! Most of us tend to get into bed around 10 or 11, which spells trouble if you plan on locking up the fridge after 6.
The period you’re going without food—fuel, as I like to call it—is 4 or 5 hours in addition to the time you’ll spend asleep. No wonder you wake up famished! Secondly, if you think about eating in terms of fueling— giving your body energy it needs to function properly. Then it’s just a bad idea to stop eating after a certain hour.
After all, you’re still going to be up and about after 6 PM, right? I think the concern is mainly that you’ll eat continuously after dinner, which, no matter what time it is, isn’t a good thing; eating for the sake of eating never is. However, if you’re noshing strategically which means the right foods in the right portion sizes, because you’re actually hungry, then I wouldn’t be too worried.
Plan one or two small snacks between the time you finish dinner at 5 or 6 PM and when you head to bed around 10 or 11 PM; Greek yogurt and a banana or an apple with a handful of plain nuts are good healthy examples of snacks to try for fitness lovers. The planning helps prevent a free-for-all binge post-supper, and the portion size seems appropriate as well.
It’s Okay to Risk “Spoiling” Your Dinner:
Similar to the previous point, it’s hard to imagine starving yourself until your dinner at 6 PM. I know dinnertime is known to be epic, but “saving your calories” for 6 PM can leave you feeling cranky and irritable in the hours before the big event.
Basically, when your mom warned you about spoiling your dinner, she was probably more concerned that you’d end up stuffing your face with an easy pre-packaged fix before you had a chance to eat some healthy and home-cooked.
As such, if you feel that you need a little boost to tide you over in the hours before supper, make sure your snack is just as nutritious as what will finally end up on the dinner table. Hunger isn’t really an excuse to pig out on junk food before the healthy fare is served, so try something safer, like a protein shake, cottage cheese and berries, or a hard-boiled egg and some veggies.
Have a Strategic Late-Night Snack:
I always hate the idea of going to bed hungry. Remember those early days when, after acting particularly obnoxious, your parents would send you to bed early without supper? Yeah, that was particularly painful, and not just for the disappointment of not having a TV in my room as a child.
Going to bed hungry isn’t the wisest idea, particularly if you’re looking to tone up and build a lean physique. During your sleeping hours, your body is basically fasting and that is, running on empty for a good 7-9 hours. As such, I like to have a strategic late-night snack close to the time I head for bed, so that I’m never going to sleep starving.
The content and relative portion size of what you’re eating is always a good consideration, so be strategic. I like to have a protein shake or bar before bed; it’s a pretty good balance of carbs, protein, and vitamins that my body needs. Again, think of your late-night snack in terms of fuel for your body; in these terms, even unsalted popcorn seems to fall flat. Aim to get a balance of carbs and proteins as part of your snack, and eat until you’re satisfied. The only thing that feels worse than going to bed hungry is going to bed like a stuffed turkey, so be reasonable about not pigging out.
The Hollywood Approach To Eating:
Now let’s see the meal plan of celebrities. If you’re as fluent in celebrity gossip as I am, then I’m sure you’ve read everything there is to know about Brooke Burke’s weight-loss success post-baby, or ScarJo’s hardcore slim-down in preparation for Iron Man 2 and then for The Avengers.
But how much can we really draw from these stories? I’ve come to believe that celebs exist in an absolutely different fitness stratosphere than the rest of us — one where “real life” never interferes and time, as well as money, is never an issue. If I had someone yelling at me to get off my fat ass, run on the treadmill, and eat more spinach, then I’d probably find easier access to the mystical land of hot bodies, high fashion, and seemingly effortless beauty.
Still, every so often there’s an interesting celebrity fitness story or interview that comes out that I, as an Average Jane, can totally relate to or completely disagree with. If anything, these types of articles get me talking as well as raising questions. How can we benefit from Hollywood approaches to eating, or are these fitness ideas reserved solely for the bold and the stars?
Healthier Hollywood Thinking:
In issue 1 of Cosmopolitan UK’s special release, CosmoBody, Brooklyn Decker surprised me with some candid words about eating and achieving the shape you want. Decker countered the perception that models and celebs can maintain the bodies they have without some hard work. “I hate it how when people ask the girls how they stay in shape and they say, ‘I eat pizza and cheesecake all day.’ Of course they don’t,” reveals Decker. She goes on to mention how she has to “work out all the time, and it does it get hard.” Thank God for a first real answer from someone who looks as flawless as Decker does.
We’ve come to accept that some celebs out there are just born beautiful, but Decker’s frankness is something I can definitely admire. There is just no way that half of these girls can look as taught and amazing as they do whilst eating nothing but greasy foods all the time, and yet, when we read interviews attesting to the contrary, a little part of us wants to believe it. If these kinds of beautiful “freaks” exist, then surely there’s no need for the rest of us to quit the McDonald’s, right?
A hard body is surely hard to achieve, and admitting that being fit takes real dedication effectively puts the onus back on the individual. Some people might be genetically gifted, but the rest of us need to take some fitness responsibility for our bodies. Even hot models do too, apparently. This is encouraging news for all the Average Janes out there like me.
Eating Out of Duty:
Once I read an article in Men’s Health magazine interviewing actor Chris Evans about his fitness journey in preparation for his titular role in Captain America: The First Avenger. Evans admitted that during training, flavour typically takes the backseat and nutrition becomes a means to an end.
In other words, proper fueling doesn’t need to be pretty, or even tasty, so long as it brings results. I thought this was an interesting, no-nonsense approach to breaking the fitness finish line. The meals you need to or should eat can become repetitive and dull, but in the end, it’s not necessarily about the pleasure you get in eating, so long as your body gets ingredients it needs to go harder, get leaner, and get you where you want to be.
I can see both the upside and downside to this approach. Obviously, if we learn to take the focus off the taste and general monotony of what we’re eating and simply suck it up and eat what we know our body needs, then we’re so much closer to success than if we’re constantly looking for something sinfully delicious for dinner. No BS, just results. Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Unfortunately, food and eating are things we also know to be pleasurable, so it’s inevitable that there’ll be those comparisons between the taste, texture, and general antithesis of what we have to eat versus what we’re craving. I wish I could just cut the BS and get cut faster, but like so many of us out there, I’m a sucker for all things greasy.
As you know, I’m a big believer that eating healthily doesn’t have to be outright disgusting. Making cleaner food choices, like opting for whole grains over enriched white pasta or bread, help make it easier for us to manage our weight in a realistic way.
Essentially, eating doesn’t simply have to be a means to an end; we can achieve a balance between flavour and fitness. However, I can see how going cold-turkey and just getting done can also get you there a whole lot faster. If you cut out 100% of what you know your body doesn’t really need, then it makes sense that you’ll be able to slim down or buff up a lot more quickly, hence why this approach is appropriate for actors and celebs prepping for an upcoming role or shoot.
While I obviously would like to get there as quickly as possible, rather than have to sit it out another season in my fat jeans, I just don’t think I have it in me to go full-throttle and sustain that kind of eating plan in the long-run. That’s really what it comes down to finding a system that balances it all out so that you can effectively integrate the eating with your lifestyle. Who would I be if I could never have Froot Loops for breakfast ever again?
Eating In Real Life:
You know, I always wish I had Evans’ willpower when it comes to the whole “eating with purpose” thing, but it makes sense to treat eating as a part of your job if you actually work in a field where your body is essentially a commodity. If being hot literally needed to be a part of my resume, then I think I could somehow find the way to suck it up as well. Working out and working hard to maintain the awesome shape is like doing research in preparation for your business presentation. Putting celebrity fitness plans into perspective like this helps remind us of what we have to work with and that work almost always accompanies results.
Now, I think, this post will help you to improve your fitness and personality because, you have known the truth of the eating habits of hollywood celebrities. And you also have known exactly what and how much to eat in your hostel life to maintain a great physical structure. Am I wrong?