How to maintain a healthy lifestyle in college

The Rec center is a great place to get exercise during the school year. Photo by Marissa Isgreen
The Rec center is a great place to get exercise during the school year. Photo by Marissa Isgreen

New semesters allow for new resolutions. For many college students, eating better and working out are at the top of their list.

“I just don’t have time to workout,” it seems like virtually every college student is saying. According to Michelle Gehret, fitness coordinator at Campus Recreation, it’s not just a college student’s excuse.


“Time is the number one reason people say they can’t work out,” Gehret says.

Here are some tips to stay active while maintaining a busy academic schedule. Gehret recommends circuit training, body weight exercises or Tabata training, a four minute, high intensity workout that was created in Japan, for students.

For Tabata training, choose one exercise to focus on. Perform your chosen exercise for 20 seconds, pushing yourself as hard as you can, then rest for 10 seconds, this counts as one set. After completing eight sets, you’re finished. A combination of eight sets of four different exercises will give you a 15 minute workout you can do anywhere. (Even under your annoying roommate’s lofted bed.)

Eating right can be challenging for college students. Freshmen face the perils of dining halls and upperclassmen face eating on a budget. While a $2 burrito from Taco Bell sounds appealing to the stomach and wallet, Melissa Wdowik, director of the Kendall Anderson Nutritional Center, explains, “It’s not just about weight; it’s not healthy to just eat fried and creamy foods.”

Wdowik says it is important for people to eat on a schedule. Long periods between meals cause people to over eat. It is also important to always eat breakfast, even if it’s small. Research shows that eating breakfast helps maintain a healthy body weight, provides important vitamins and nutrients and jump starts your energy for morning activities.

Wanna know a secret to surviving college? Use your resources. CSU’s Housing and Dining website has an entire nutrition calculator on their website, so students can track exactly what they’re eating in the dining halls. As Melissa Wdowik says, it’s important to go into the dining hall with a plan. Here’s a pre-made list of some healthy cafeteria options to get you started.


Scrambled Eggs Bacon Fresh Fruit Whole Wheat Bread (No Spread) Total Excluding Beverage
Serving Size 4 oz (1/2 C) 2 slices 4 oz (1/2 C) 1 slice 393
calories 168 69 36 120 20g
fat 13g 5g 0 2g 30.3g
carbs 1g 0 9.3 20g 12g
sugar 1g 0 8 3g 22g
protein 11g 5g 0 6g


  • Avoid Juices! While the calories aren’t too high and that fat is zero, the grams of sugar are well over 20 in all flavors. Instead stick to water, milk or coffee with milk instead of creamer. 8 oz (1 C) of nonfat milk is only 83 calories and 8 grams of protein
  • Substitute grilled tofu, hard boiled eggs, or multi-grain bread and still stay under 400 calories


  • Turkey and Ham Club Sandwich
    • 393 calories
    • 17g fat
    • 31g carbs
    • 4g sugar
    • 27g protein
  • Cheese Quesadilla (4 pieces)
    • 372 calories
    • 19g fat
    • 32g carbs
    • 1g sugar
    • 19g protein
  • Bean and Cheese Burrito (1/2 c beans, 2T cheese, 2 oz pico de gallo)
    • 496 calories
    • 12g fat
    • 78g carbs
    • 25g protein
  • Tofu Cashew Stir Fry 6 oz
    • 198 calories
    • 9g fat
    • 21g carbs
    • 12g sugar
    • 9g protein
  • 2 C Composed Chicken Apple Walnut Salad
    • 264 calories
    • 16g fat
    • 16g carbs
    • 14g protein
  • Add ons if you want/need more calories: Baked potato (no butter) 164 calories, White dinner roll 107 calories, Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie 162 calories



Zucchini & Yellow Squash Saute Penne alla Vodka no chicken  Salad* Total Excluding Beverage
Serving Size 1/2 C 1 C See Below*
calories 40 235 207 482
fat 2g 9g 12g 23g
carbs 4g 27g 23g 54g
sugar 3g 3g 17g 23g
protein 3g 8g 2g 12g

Note: While calorie counting can be an effective way to lose weight and manage your food intake, simply counting calories will not give you a well rounded diet. It’s important to monitor how many grams of fat, carbohydrates, sugars, and protein you are consuming as well. High protein foods provide energy for your body for long periods of time, while high sugar foods will give you a short energy boost, but you’re body will crash when it’s used up its supply.

 College Avenue reporter Marissa Isgreen can be reached at Watch for your issue of College Avenue on racks Sept. 11 in your Collegian.