Why Students Should Still Maintain Healthy Eating Habits

Isa Mahon

Keegan Mckinley-Chapin showing us some healthy eating options.

Eating healthy as a student isn’t always easy. With the high speed rush of school and extracurriculars, it’s hard to fit in healthy meals. But, it’s something we really should be paying attention to while our brains are constantly working as a student. Eating healthy and staying fit isn’t the biggest priority for a high school student when the future is on our minds and school work is overpowering. However, eating healthy is still very important. Maintaining a relatively healthy diet keeps our bodies and minds strong and able to do all the necessary things day to day. An occasional treat, is a must, and potato chips are delicious, but trying to stick to healthy foods and cutting out a daily and constant consumption of unhealthy foods is key to staying healthy and growing strong.

 A lot of students are not adhering to the recommendations for the healthiest foods for their bodies. According to the USDA, only 2 percent of children adhere to the Food Guide Pyramid recommendations, and 16 percent do not adhere to any. The food pyramid is a tool many of us have been taught to use since a young age to help us know what we should be eating. When only two percent of students are following this guideline it shows how students can be lacking in so many necessary nutrients and proteins and more to keep our bodies functioning at its very best. 

Not eating healthy can have many scary side effects. The one most people think of is obesity, however as students there are so much more impactful side effects that are worse than just weight gain. Mental health is a big issue for students and eating unhealthy is tied to increase in these mental health issues. One six-year study published in PLos ONE in January 2011 looked at 12,059 people and the relationship between their depression levels and trans-fat intake. The researchers found there was a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression among those who consumed the most trans fats. This study clearly shows that unhealthy eating negatively impacts mental health. Unhealthy eating does not only affect individuals in their current state of health, but also can cause major impacts overtime. 

According to the USDA pamphlet “Helping Students Learn to Eat Healthy,” “If students do not eat healthy diets, they face an increased risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes”. This shows the necessity for starting healthy eating habits early on to later decrease the health risks that come from constant unhealthy eating choices.These different effects whether long term or short term are scary and knowing that they can be changed by a simple change in the foods we eat can really help people especially students live their healthiest life. 

I decided to ask a parent of a high school student what they thought about healthy eating for their student and students in general. When asked about what this parent thinks about how their kids should be living she answered with this “Balance is key overall, with all things, sleep, healthy eating, and exercise. It’s important to not be obsessive on certain things but have a balance and try to stay healthy without overstriding and stressing over it”.I think this is a great way to put it. Overly obsessing over healthy eating isn’t good for anyone but trying to maintain a balance overall is a great way to stay healthy.

As high school students especially, students are starting to get more freedom and chances to make their own decisions and with many high school students getting their license and having the ability to drive whenever and wherever, this can lead to more unhealthy eating habits These decisions can be decisions as simple as eating habits.. Miami Herald news remarked that fewer students are eating school lunches. With high school students, they still have the freedom to make their own lunch, but for most high school students they get more enjoyment going out for lunch and eating unhealthy fast foods. But, eating healthy school lunch choices or even just bringing a healthy lunch to school is able to fill you up so much more than a greasy fast food option. Huffington Post states “Studies show that satiety, the mechanism that stops us from eating more than what we need, has less to do with caloric intake than it does with the intake of certain macronutrients ― types of protein, carbohydrates and fat ― and the physical volume of food.” Avoiding fatty fast food options, and replacing them with food full of nutrients will keep students more satisfied and energized to get them through the school day. 

With this all in mind, staying healthy, especially when young can help you currently and in the longshot. Eating healthy foods and maintaining a balanced diet is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy. Through balance, cutting out daily consumption of unhealthy foods, following the food pyramid, and many other things, you will be able to have a healthier (and happier)  lifestyle.