March 5th, 2014 by schoolbound
You are what you eat. You have no doubt heard this for years. But never before has that been more true than in today’s fast food nation. I am sure you already know this, but there is absolutely no nutritional value in a fast food establishment’s burger, fries and soft drink, it is nothing more than empty calories. And an enormous amount of calories at that! But, it is fast, convenient, accessible and cheap, especially on a college budget. I get it. I understand why it is the default go-to for students and people on fixed incomes. However, that does not make it healthy.
Let’s look at the ingredients and nutritional value of a typical fast food meal:
A McDonald’s Cheeseburger is 300 calories, 15g of Protein, 12g of fat, 33g of carbs and a whopping 680mg of sodium (that is almost 30%)!!!
Serving Size 4 oz (114 g)
|Calories from Fat||110||Dietary Fiber||2g (7%)||Calcium||200mg (20%)|
|Saturated Fat||6g (28%)||Sugars||7g||Iron||2.5mg (15%)|
|Trans Fat||0.5g||Vitamin A||250IU (6%)||Vitamin C||1mg (2%)|
WOW! That is just the cheeseburger, no fries or soft drink included.
Now let’s look at replacing that amount of calories with something healthier.
For 300 calories you could have:
1 cup of cereal
8 oz 2% milk
1 coffee or tea
2 scrambled eggs
2 strips of turkey bacon
1 piece whole wheat toast
1 pat of butter
1 coffee or tea
8 oz water
1 medium baked potato
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons salsa
1 cup sliced melon
12 oz water
1 large tossed salad
2 tablespoons oil and vinegar dressing
6 oz sliced chicken
1 cup of wheat thin crackers
12 oz water
Get the picture? Did you know 10 cups of baby spinach or baby romaine equal 100 calories? 10 CUPS!!! ENTIRE meals that are the same amount of calories, are much more nutritious and filling than just a single burger, and the benefits of this kind of meal over the fast food burger are immense. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients that can improve brain power, energy, lower cholesterol and have fiber to keep your body running smoothly. Whole grains are full of vitamins and minerals, are incredibly tasty (much more so than white breads or rice) and pack a nutritional punch that give you energy instead of slowing you down.
Now think about how you feel after eating fast food. Do you feel good? Do you have energy? Are you hungry an hour later? The problem with fast foods high in sodium and sugars is that they raise your levels of both of these things, and then you crash. Consuming fruits and vegetables does the exact opposite. the sugars in fruit are slow release, and give you energy as you digest over hours. they are lighter and more easily digested as well so your body does not feel sluggish and slow.
Now, I know I am stating the obvious here, but good nutrition and energy, focus and clarity is so important during a busy school year. Your immune system is strong, your cognition is heightened, your energy is higher and you perform at your best regardless of your schedule. why not give yourself the best opportunity for success in all aspects? You deserve it and you are paying for it!
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