Keto & college, two words that just don’t seem to add up. People think of the “freshman fifteen,” eating Taco Bell, McDonald’s, pizza, beer, and cookies when they think of a college diet. Well, they say life is what you make it and college is no exception. I have had my fair share of the Taco Bell, pizza, cookies, etc. but changing my lifestyle has made all the difference.
Freshman year of college I ate dining hall food, Starbucks, Chic-fil-a, and Subway EVERY.DAY. In between those meals, I ate easy mac, candies, and all the other typical college snacks. I felt horrible after almost every meal, although I wasn’t really gaining too much weight (probably from all the walking). My roommate and I decided to change our eating and workout habits. We went to the grocery store and got carrots, celery, and other much healthier snacks. We also made it a point to go to the gym everyday/every other day. This is where my journey began.
Sophomore year I began to workout as a stress reliever, and Zaxby’s grilled cobb salad became my go to “fast food” meal. I had a rough time learning to cook for just one, and my roommates didn’t eat the same way I did. I mastered eating out while eating “healthy-ish.” I ate Panera Bread, Zaxby’s, and McAlister’s Deli quite frequently. I wasn’t gaining, and I wasn’t losing tons of weight.
Fast-forward to junior year, and here we are. I am now in the keto lifestyle (not diet) full swing. I limit my carbs, increase my fat, and definitely keep an eye on my protein intake. Beginning the diet was not as hard for me as it was for others, because I started right before moving into school. Having my own pantry that doesn’t consist of my little brother’s gummy snacks, brownies, and tons of bread for sandwiches has made so much difference. I shop for only what I can/am going to eat. I plan out my dinners at the beginning of every week. This helps with the grocery shopping as well as having a busy college student schedule. I now cook almost all of my meals at home, and allow for eating out once a week (typically my holy grail cobb salad). Eating one meal out a week gives me something to look forward to at the end of the week. I push hard all week on my diet and keep my mind in check. At the end of the week, I get cooking relief as well as having my meal out. Although the meal is technically not a cheat meal, it is different than my typical at home meals.
Preparation is key with any diet/lifestyle change. I typically go grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon, after I have planned all my meals for the week. I LOVE to try new recipes, so I make sure I have all of the ingredients I will need for the week all in one trip. This saves time and money! I drink tons of water (I am for 90-100oz per day). This is no problem with all of the walking college students do, especially with this Carolina heat!
For breakfast, I typically have a keto shake (Ketologic Keto Meal in Strawberry) which is actually amazing. It already has all of the macros laid out in the keto way (high fat, medium protein, and very little carb). This definitely helps in the busy mornings of college students (and most Americans). This shake is not like other protein powders that never dissolve in the water like they say they do. The formula is seamless.
For lunch, I typically eat at home. It usually consists of leftover meat from dinner the night before mixed with some veggies, and maybe a fat bomb. Dinner consists of chicken or beef, low carb vegetable, and a source of fat. Having a routine helps with consistency in both eating habits and weight loss.
Being in college and being keto definitely has its ups and downs, but is definitely worth it!!