Dieting during the school year can be very difficult. At my school, we celebrate with donuts and ice cream and junk food. Just like exercising, using your brain and thinking a lot in classrooms works up an appetite and it’s easy to fall back in your diet. With vending machines full of candy, chips, and soda, it’s hard to resist temptations.
The first 2 years I was in high school, I caved in. My diet was horrible! I would buy a Gatorade and candy as my lunch, and even more for an after school snack. I would even borrow money from my friends almost daily. This past year I was able to overcome that habit. I bought maybe 3 things total the entire year, but it was from pure hunger, not boredom. I have a few tips to help you resist bad cravings during the school year.
1. BYO Lunch
The convenience of cafeteria lunches, vending machines, or catered lunches look appealing, but in the long term it’s faster to eat healthy than to work off all of the calories. If there are healthy options, then that is O.K. Most likely if it is coming from a vending machine, it is not healthy. Many snack companies trick consumers into thinking that their food is healthy, and it is deceiving since you can’t physically read the ingredients until after you buy their food. In another blog post I will explain what snacks I do recommend to bring and some easy lunch options.
2. Don’t go for everything that is free
Free ice cream, cupcakes, donuts, and hot chocolate sound great! While I don’t want you to deprive yourself, I don’t want you to go for every single free dessert. For exams, we have a donut station and a hot chocolate station. You’re allowed to get both and generally there is enough for seconds. Just because we’re offered both doesn’t mean we need to take full advantage of it. I personally, would enjoy a hot chocolate with a mini candy cane in it so I get some of the benefits of peppermint oil. That way I’m not watching everyone enjoy their donuts and hot chocolate, but I’m not eating/drinking a ton of sugar either.
3. Avoid Being Hungry
This goes back with the first tip and brining your own snacks. Don’t bring snacks that leave you feeling hungry! This will only result in either buying food from the vending machines or sharing food with someone else. Foods with fiber will keep you full. Just don’t go on fiber overload. Be aware if you have after school practices that you will be hungry right after school so a small snack is necessary. Staying hydrated will also help you not confuse hunger with thirst.
4. Remember your diet
We all have that person inside that reminds us of the healthier option and we sometimes let that person inside tell us to get the unhealthy option. The more you cave into your cravings, the more likely you will repeat. If you’re accustomed to eating healthy food, your body starts to crave it. That’s how I like to think to resist my cravings. Other people think about sports and how sluggish they will be after eating poorly. Some people find it easier to think about their body and how great they look after dieting. Whatever mindset works for you, memorize it and stick with it.
As for people in university/college who have dining halls, the best way to avoid cravings is just fill up on veggies and healthier food and eat fruit for dessert. Again, don’t deprive yourself. Just don’t eat a dessert every day for lunch and dinner. I would make a deal with myself. A sweet dessert after dinner every other Friday night is reasonable. Maybe every Friday night after dinner is easier to start out with. Look at all of the options and form a pact with yourself regarding junk food.
Anyway, I hoped this was a little helpful because during school is one of the most important times to eat healthy. It not only helps with concentration, but overall health when it’s the easiest time to get sick. As bikini season is ending, many people get lazy with their diet and then stress right before bikini season starts up again during exams and the hardest time of the year. Eat clean and I bet you will fit into your new jeans by the time it is cold enough to wear them!