I’m trying to eat healthier, but I find it difficult to do this because I am on 2 meals a day college dining plan.

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I am a college freshman and I recently started working out a few times a week. I’m also trying to eat healthier, but I find it difficult to do this because I am on 2 meals a day dining plan. So, I usually skip breakfast and have a large lunch and dinner. I may have an afternoon or midnight snack. I know I should be having more, smaller meals throughout the day, but that is not possible when on a meal plan. Do you have any suggestions?

Also, what are some healthy options in a school cafeteria? I’m bored of turkey sandwiches, salads, and cereal!

I also have another question–my normal heart rate at rest is about 80 beats per minute. Is this really unhealthy for my age (I weigh 120 lb.)?

If you were going to pick 2 meals to eat, I would suggest breakfast and an evening meal. Eat something for breakfast as studies have found that students that eat breakfast, stay awake in school and get better grades. Depending on when you can eat breakfast, you can grab something in the student union at noon or eat an earlier dinner. You can always choose a fruit or starch like bread with your meal and keep it to snack on between meals. You’re not eating breakfast is probably the reason behind your midnight snacking too.

Healthy food choices are any food that isn’t high in fat (fried) or sugars (sweets). Eat enough food to fill you up, but stop eating when you are full. You may notice that you pause while eating and use this break to determine if you are full. Choose a variety of foods at each meal from various food groups (meat, milk, bread, vegetables, and fruits). Check out the My Plate topic for more on this.

As to your heart rate, I would suggest you call your student health service and ask to talk to a doctor or nurse practitioner. Ask your doctor next time that you are home. Generally, students sit around a lot and may not get a lot of exercises. Sometimes this can result in a higher resting heart rate. I would bet that if you continue working out on a regular basis (3 to 5 times per week) that your heart rate will drop.

How are you taking your heart rate? Best time is when you are resting unless you are checking for your target heart rate while exercising. Using your index or middle finger, place your finger on the inside of your other wrist, next to your wrist bone. You can count heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 or count for a full minute to get your heart rate. Don’t use your thumb as it has a pulse.