By Guest Blogger: Barbara Jolie
First of all, I want to acknowledge upfront that I don’t have to sell the “benefits of smart eating” argument to the parents whose kids can’t stand the sight of greens. Parents, I know that you’re trying your hardest to get your kids to eat well without scaring them off from nutritious food altogether, and I applaud your effort.
With this article, I want to address the picky eating college-bound young adults directly, telling them hard truths that parents might avoid. Yes, I have more than a few bones to pick with youngsters who would sooner find solace in a fast food chicken nugget than they would a bowl of quinoa or even a stalk of celery. Eating the right foods is all the more important for selective eaters when they’re going off to college because they have to make their own meals now—without mom and dad monitoring their eating habits, there’s no telling what they’ll gobble up to satisfy their hunger. My intention is to help these wayward eaters get on a smart path to better eating.
So here’s my argument, hypothetical college student; please consider it before you give in to ramen and microwave dinners.
You’ll Need the Nutrition
I’ll admit that you might not be sold on this point alone, but I’ll make it anyway. Earning a college degree is hard work, often requiring a superhuman amount of mental strain to study for tests, complete projects on time, and to absorb hundreds of pages of class material. How do will you keep up your mental stamina in the face of such academic challenges if you don’t keep your body and mind properly fueled with healthy foods?
Fast food might satisfy your sodium cravings, but think about the bigger picture here: how well do you think a few items off a dollar menu will prepare you the night before a big test? I’d wager that a solid nutritious meal with ample greens and smart proteins like chicken or fish would be much better for your mind. Certain foods are called “brain food” for a reason, after all.
Expanding Your Palate Will Open Your Mind In Other Areas
In my opinion, trying new foods can do a lot to broaden a person’s intellectual horizons. I’d like to think that there’s a pretty direct correlation between adventurous eating and adventurous behavior. For picky eaters with serious food phobias, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to overcome those anxieties and try something outside of the comfort zone.
The idea of eating a salmon filet with green beans can seem intimidating if you’re only to eating nothing but hamburgers and French fries for most of your meals. But I guarantee you that the moment you try something new, the moment you challenge yourself to try new foods—especially healthier options—you’ll notice your entire worldview start to chance. Fearless eating translates into many other positive behaviors: you might have more confidence in your studies, or you might gain the courage to take the helm in social situations.
Eating Well Can Save You Serious Money
And then there’s the financial argument, which I think makes the strongest case for college students to consider healthy eating habits. If you budget properly for it, you can save a good chunk of change from eating expenses if you make your meals at home from store-bought produce, meats, and grains. If you cook meals in big batches and with well-balanced ingredients—say veggie lasagna or a one-pot heart meat stew—you could have enough portions to last you through several lunches and dinners. Cooking in such a way will even cost you less over time than if you were to rely on ramen and dollar menu items from a nearby fast food joint. What’s more, cooking for yourself is the only way to ensure that you get the proper nutrients you need to maintain a healthy diet in school.
About the Writer
Barbara Jolie is a freelance education, tech, and health blogger currently writing for onlineclasses.org. She loves to write about higher education in particular through the lens of either student health or modern mobile technology. Please feel free to leave Barbara some comments!