I remember the first phone call I had with my oldest daughter after dropping her off at college:
“Mom, the food here is disgusting!” (No joke)
I’ve heard from plenty of friends and clients whose kids live on campus, that the food hall selection at many colleges, offers very little to no diversity. And it doesn’t taste good. And they are stuck in a repetitive pattern. Which leads to another common conversation, their body image and skin health. And finally, major problems students are having is that their bodies are not agreeing with these foods! (Intestinal distress, inflammation, fatigue, and frequent infections)
I tell everyone everyday that they should always eat what they love. My question is, how can I help, when we send our teens to college to eat foods that don’t agree with their stomachs? It is difficult for us to offer help, when we do not prepare the foods or what they have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (Hoping it’s all 3 that they eat)
So, what can you do? One solution, I suggest, is by sending a care packages of snacks to your college students. You know them best! You know what foods they like
and dislike, the foods they are sensitive to, etc. You can order or pack their go to’s
in a box, small or large, filled with chosen snacks they can keep in their rooms instead of
munching on foods that do not agree with them.
A struggle that many of them or you may face daily while away from home, which also connects to last week’s newsletter – is the amount of anxiety and stress that college students have is OFF THE CHARTS. Adulting is hard. Responsibility and accountability are hard! Whether it be homework and projects, trying to make friends, or finding someone to grab a meal with, it’s hard. College takes a toll on your body as you navigate a new way of living away from your family.
As I have previously mentioned in almost every post or newsletter I have ever shared, many people, and students are no different, eat when they are not hungry. They do this to cope with procrastination, stress and anxiety. Your schedules change from day to the next, your sleep schedule is off making it harder to make better decisions. Your friends are eating at random times and late into the night. Everything is different. There is alcohol. Of course you need to be 21 to drink legally, but there is alcohol. Since not all students have access to a full-time kitchen in their dorms, it is difficult to cook meals. Not only this, students probably don’t have much time to set aside to prepare a meal! And parents have we taught our kids how to prep, store, and make meals. And with what tools in their dorms. A waffle maker, a rice cooker? Actually, that can work.
So, what can you do to change your eating habits and avoid foods that do not agree with your body? One solution might be to regularly go to the grocery store. When you go to buy foods that you love and give you proper nutrition, You should feel better. Meaning they make you feel well, they don’t cause bloating, burping, heartburn or constipation or diarrhea. Parents, do you send your kids to shop, this might be a good time to get them interested. Don’t worry I can help.
These don’t have to be ingredients to prepare a meal or “healthy choices”. Choices could be:
Depending on the school, you might be able to ask for nutrition assistance. Ask the dining hall employees or nutrition services, if there are any other options for students sensitive to certain foods. Some might be able to prepare a special meal for you, as they do for students with allergies.
Another option, not food related, is exercise! (Hitting the good old gym or taking a walk and getting those 10,000 steps in.) Finding time to exercise when you are so busy with school and activities can be difficult, but it is essential for both your physical and mental health. Exercising is a proven boost your mood, and sometimes this can really help with stress and anxiety and test taking. moving your body will motivate your eating habits. Instead of thinking food is a good idea because you are overwhelmed, you will start to think of running, yoga, walking or any form of exercise. (Throw headphones on and dance in your dorm room😉, that counts, too.)
As always, I am here to encourage you and your kids on your journey. I want to offer the young adults and college kids a way to invest in themselves just like we have invested in them at home and how we invest in ourselves. If your college age kiddo is looking for some support with dorm life, food and wellness let me help. I would like to offer a summer reset in 4 weekly group sessions. I am looking to connect with college kids who want to learn to change their relationship with food, to feel their best and who want to motivate others to do the same. Send me a note - this will start mid July. Let’s go.