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College Student Productivity Tip: Fuel Up with Healthy Food

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Eating healthy will keep you going during the school year.

Eating healthy will keep you going during the school year.

The summer before college is usually filled with things to do before you're ready to move into the dorm, but one thing that's really important to keep at the top of your to-do list is getting into healthy habits. Those habits will follow you into the school year and keep you going through your classes, work, and clubs.

Productivity is easier when you feel good and you have plenty of energy. For the best results, you should start developing healthy eating and fitness habits the summer before freshman year.

Get Moving

Before you head off to college, start a fitness regimen and stick to it. I took advantage of the nice weather and began to run outside. You could also start a weekly pick-up game of Frisbee or soccer with your friends or find a place to swim.

Once you get to college, don't lose the momentum. During the summer, exercising comes more naturally because it's nice out, but you can keep working out during the colder months at your college's gym. I had a hard time fitting exercise into my schedule when I first started school, but since I was already in the habit of running every day, I was craving exercise. When I'm used to working out, I want to do it, but when I'm not used to it, it feels like a sweaty hassle.

Then I realized the gym at my school stays open as late at 10 or 11 at night, so I always have time to go. It's a great way to get some energy out on nights that I'm stressed with a big paper. It helped me take a break from thinking about my assignment, relieve stress, and come back re-energized.

Develop Good Eating Habits

It's also a good idea to start working on your diet during the summer, so you're in the habit of eating a variety of healthy foods. Once you get to school, it will be easier to head to the salad bar rather than grab that slice of pizza. Make sure you mix it up, too. You'll miss out on key nutrients if you always eat the same things. And make sure you are still getting your iron and protein.

There are different forms of protein you can get from cheese and beans compared to beef or chicken. It's best to eat a well-rounded diet, so you get all the types of protein you need.

Make Healthy Substitutions

When I know I have a late night of papers ahead of me, I grab an orange before I leave the dining hall. It's a refreshing snack that is a good replacement for greasy chips that make you feel tired and bloated.

When I know I'll be up until the wee hours (which I wouldn't recommend; sleep is just as important as eating right), I replace a second cup of coffee with tea. It keeps me from drinking less cream and sugar and gives me a boost of antioxidants while still providing a pick-me-up.

It's also a good idea to cut out soda or sugary drinks entirely, because sugar ends up making you more tired and can sometimes trigger migraines or even acne. I try to replace sugary drinks with milk or orange juice, which have more nutrients like calcium and vitamin C.

Taking care of your body during the school year is just as important as taking care of your grades. In fact, with enough exercise, sleep, and healthy food, you may just see an improvement in your productivity and your GPA!

Photo source: Morguefile