How Can International Students Eat Healthy in the U.S.?

How Can International Students Eat Healthy in the U.S.?

Moving to the U.S. is a scary, yet exciting prospect for students and scholars. If you are reading this article, it probably means that the novelty of burgers and pizzas for meals are wearing off, and your body is craving healthy food.

However, eating healthy as a student can be quite challenging. After all, you probably do not have much time to dedicate to cooking. Also, your budget is probably too limited for you to afford healthy options while dining out. You are probably wondering how to eat on a budget and not survive on ramen.

Do not fret, we have it covered for you. The steps listed below will not only help you eat healthy, but also keep track of your diet.

1. Make a Weekly Meal Plan

Eating healthy can be more of a challenge if you have to plan your meal every day. Instead, shop for the week ahead. Make a list of everything you will need before you head to the store. You can also use an app to help you keep track of how much food you are consuming and whether it is meeting your nutrition goals. If you stick to your grocery list, you will be able to eat healthy and save up at the same time. Maybe, at the end of the week, you will be able to reward yourself with a cheat meal.

2. Head to the Grocery Store

Grocery stores and supermarkets in the U.S. are generally stacked with frozen and packaged food items. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t healthy options out there.

Stock up on dairy products, whole fruits, vegetables and whole grains. For the occasional snack, avoid the rows of chips and crisps, and instead choose nuts and berries. Grocery stores have started stocking more gluten-free and preservative-free options. Before you buy a product, check its label to make sure that you know what you are going to consume. Instead of processed meat like sausages and salami, buy organic meat.

Always remember, the key to shopping healthy is sticking to your list. It is also a wise idea to pick up some ice cream and dark chocolate to indulge in the occasional craving, since completely cutting off comfort food may increase the impulse to binge eat.

3. Cook at Home

Sounds challenging? It does not have to be.

Contrary to the popular belief, you do not have to dedicate a lot of time to cook at home. The secret is cooking in big batches. Whatever you cook, cook enough to make it last for three to four days. You can even use your leftovers to make sandwiches and burritos.

If you are not experienced in the kitchen, search the internet for recipes which use only two or three ingredients. You can start with these recipes and when you feel more confident, move on to more complicated recipes.

4. Dine Out

There are healthy food options available even if you eat out at restaurants. Avoid food that has too much carbohydrate or fat content, and stay away from deep-fried food.

You can always have a healthy salad while dining out. As long as you go easy on the dressing, there is nothing wrong with it. You can also opt for the occasional steak. While at a fast-food restaurant, choose a sandwich or a pasta instead of grabbing a burger. Instead of deep-fried dumplings, go for steamed options.

5. Learn to Appreciate Healthy Food

Often, our minds are preconditioned to the notion that healthy food cannot taste good. This mindset often stands in the way of healthy eating.

If you wish to eat healthy, the first thing you have to do is to ditch this concept. If you conduct just a bit of research, you will find out that more carbs and fats do not necessarily add to the taste of the food. On the contrary, it is spices and seasonings that truly contribute to the taste of the food.

If you keep this in mind, you will be able to enjoy healthy and tasty food.

6. Do Not Shy Away from Fast Food

After all, it’s America. Fast food is a part of American culture. Just like you would not ditch bakeries while visiting France or pizzas while visiting Italy, you do not want to miss out fast food while in America.

However, you have to be conscious while opting for fast food. When you feel like eating a burger, choose a grilled patty instead of a fried one. Choose healthier fast-food chains like Subway, Panera Bread or Pita Pit. These restaurants are less common compared to McDonald’s or Burger King, but are infinitely healthier.

Eating Healthy: The Final Verdict

You are almost ready to step into a healthier, more nutritious eating habits. Before you start, consider these final suggestions to make your transition easier.

  1. Count nutrients, not calories. This is a mistake many people make while trying to eat healthy and stay in shape. While reading the labels, they focus on the calorie content. It is important to measure calories, but not at the cost of cutting down on nutrients. For example, a spoonful of sugar contains roughly the same number of calories as a sunny-side up fried egg. However, the egg is ten times healthier. It will keep you fuller for much longer and won’t make you put on weight.
  1. Always be on the lookout for healthier options. Instead of soda, grab a glass of milk. Instead of fried crisps, choose baked ones. To satisfy your cravings, choose from healthier options like popcorn, nuts and dry fruits.
  1. Remember, no amount of healthy food can help your case if you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a schedule, and stick to it. Get enough sleep. If you have a completely sedentary lifestyle, snap out of it. Even 15 minutes of exercise can go a long way. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol intake, and choose detoxifying drinks instead. A healthy lifestyle can double the benefits you reap from a healthy diet.
  1. When moving to the U.S., you will have to adjust to a completely different climate and food than that you are used to. It may cause health problems if your body does not adjust to it well. However, a private hospital may charge you a lot even if you have a minor illness. To make sure that the cost for your treatment is covered, buy a health insurance plan.

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