College is a time when we tend to develop a lot of not-so-great habits. Some, like the weekly games of Edward Forty-Hands, tend to fade once you reach matriculation, but many other bad habits stick around for a long, long time.

In an effort to curb one of the longest-standing bad habits, poor eating, here are tips to improve the way you battle your snack urges in college.

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Controlled Snacking

I’m a grazer — always have been. Half a bagel for breakfast, an apple and string cheese for second breakfast, part of a sandwich for lunch, and then pizza, pizza, pizza, salad for the last four meals of the day. Yes, I’ve kicked the habit by keeping track of meals and snacks.

Do I really need a Luna bar at 11am if I am meeting friends for lunch at 12:30? Probably not. Was that serving of hummus and pretzels really a snack, or was it meal-sized? Think consciously about your snacks and try to plan ahead so you’re not starving with only a candy bar to save you. Pay attention to when the cravings hit so you can be prepared with packed snacks.

Packing Snacks

Now that you know you’re always hungry between your 1pm and your 3pm classes, make sure you’ve got nuts, fresh fruit, a low-sugar granola bar, or a small sandwich in your bag. It’s easy to snag many of these items from the dining hall and breakfast time, so there’s no excuse!

Aimless Study Snacking

No, I don’t think you should eliminate something from your day if it is the only way you’re going to sit in the student center and do your homework. For me, it was the strange combination of goldfish crackers and grape juice. I later graduated to Luna bars, but now stick with a small mix of almonds and craisins, and I keep the portions in check.

Studying can make you anxious, distracted and stressed, and this often leads you to feel hungry or drives you to emotionally eat and aimlessly snack. If you must snack aimlessly, do so with portion control. Don’t bring an entire bag of Halloween candy to the library; bring just a small handful of M&M’s.

Snack When Hungry

This is the biggest tip to take away from it all, and also the hardest. Do your best to become aware of when you’re actually hungry and when you’re just eating to eat. We all do this, especially when there are many goodies surrounding us, or when we’re stressed and overworked.

Try to avoid the aimless study snacking and opt for controlled snacking when you’re actually hungry. Getting control of your emotional relationship with food is a big step in keeping your body healthy and your weight in check.

 

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