All the hard work that you did to prepare for your competitive examinations has paid off and you have landed in a fairly good college. The euphoria of selection is over and you now face the real challenge…shifting into the college hostel. Living in the hostel is a major transition from the comfort and protection of home to a place that is new and hostile and where you are expected to look after yourself completely. Staying by yourself makes you independent, teaches you decision making and survival instincts. In a hostel you are not only bound by rules and regulations …you are also dependent for food on the hostel cafeteria.
It’s not a brainier that neither is hostel food complete in terms of nutrition; nor is it the healthiest and tastiest form of food. Young boys and girls who move to the hostel face a constant challenge of eating wholesome and healthy food. The monotony of hostel food also forces them to binge on unhealthy snack options and convenience food ranging from instant noodles, ready to eat meals, chips, cookies and sugar laden drinks.
As young minds go through the grind of college, exams, assignments and long hours of studying they need good nutrition and some physical activity to support them. Listed below are a few simple tips to ensure they get the required nutrition.
1. Do not miss major meals from the hospital cafeteria:
Although the mess food may not be very palatable and healthy you do need your supply of dales, chapati, rice and vegetables to keep you going. You may pick and choose from sambhar and dal, avoid the vegetables you are not very fond of but try to eat a respectable portion of whatever is available.
2. Eat in the mess with your friends most of the time:
Don’t get the cafeteria food in your room and plan to eat it at leisure. Food is definitely more palatable, interesting and warm when it is served in the cafe. Procured at your room it will become cold and unpalatable. Also eating with friends and having a conversation over meal time may make even dull food more acceptable as compared to eating alone in your room.
3. Stock up on nuts, fruits, salads, roasted grams, puffed rice and soya:
Keep provision for hunger pangs between meals and for late night studies. Buy some seasonal fruits and vegetables that can be eaten raw and don’t require refrigeration. Apples, pears, oranges, plums, melons, guava and grapes are fruits that can be eaten on the go. Cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, papaya and mangoes need to be cut before eating but are great for snacking. Keep an airtight jar full of nuts and another one of roasted grams that you can munch on while studying. Other healthy snacks could be puffed rice, soya or wheat.
4. Get your calcium and protein:
From the local store in the college buy and stock for immediate consumption tetra pack milk, curds, buttermilk or soy-milk that is available in single serving packs. As these are perishables consume them immediately or in by the end of the day. See that you get a minimum of 500 ml of milk or its products in a day.
5. Cook up some eggs, toss a salad and make a healthy sandwich:
On a weekend don’t just rush out to eat but get your buddies to make something healthy and tasty. If there is a common cooking area with some basics like a kettle and a few pans, a few options could be boiling or scrambling eggs and having then with toasts, a quick salad and some milk. You could also assemble a cold sandwich using simple ingredients such as cucumber, tomatoes, butter and some whole grain bread.
Studies have shown that young boys and girls in hostel neglect food, eat less, do not eat fruits, vegetables and nuts as it is not served in the mess and depend increasingly on outside food. It is therefore very important to take a stock of your daily routine and figure out how you will eat healthy and not fall into the pit of deficiency, obesity and low nutrition.