There are subtle changes you can make to your weekly routine that can benefit your health and boost your energy. Seriously, college is the time in our lives that we are the most damaging to our bodies (and livers) so why not make a few harmless switches to ease a little bit of that damage.

Lifestyle Changes

Photo by Charles Wetherbee

1. Switch your cup (or cups) of coffee twice a week to green tea
This is seriously a no-brainer. Coffee has some health benefits, but green tea supersedes them by a mile. It boosts your metabolism, gives you energy, and is great for bone health and weight loss. And you can’t complain about not getting your caffeine fix because green tea has caffeine.


2. Skip meat once a week
Once a week, don’t eat meat. Saying no to meat even one day a week is the simplest way to cut out saturated fats and bad cholesterol. There are a ton of other ways to get protein, so no excuses!

Lifestyle Changes

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3. Change to an interval workout
I cannot stress enough how good exercise is to not only your physical health but to your mental health while at college. A lot of young adults deal with stress and other issues that they don’t realize could be mitigated by an exercise routine. Even once or twice a week is better than none. That being said, new studies have shown that interval workouts, even if they’re shorter, are better for heart health and weight loss. If you like the treadmill, do 1-2 minutes on a high speed followed by 1-2 on a lower speed. You’ll find the results way better.

4. Swap the plates
This one may sound weird, but studies show that using bigger plates actually makes you eat more. Switching to a smaller plate can allow you to avoid some calories, prevent you from feeling too full, and allow you to save room for dessert.

Lifestyle Changes

Photo by Amanda Shulman

5. Eat more fish
Fish is brain food. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which improve brain health, not to mention the benefits it has for your heart, skin, hair and memory. Fish also is a filling protein in any meal that can also lower your risk for many types of cancer.

Lifestyle Changes

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6. Keep a bottle of water next to your bed
Water is so good for you and it’s really underrated. If you keep a glass of bottle of water next to your bed, you’re more likely to hydrate yourself.

Lifestyle Changes

Photo by Marykate Surette

7. Refrain from vending machines
I know this one is annoying, especially because the library food-access at Penn is so limited and the hours are horrific. That being said, there are mostly inadequate options in vending machines that are filled with added salt and sugar. Plus, they’re really overpriced! Pack a bag of homemade popcorn, fruit or nuts instead and it will make all the difference.

Lifestyle Changes

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8. Turn up the heat on your foods
Adding a little spice to your meal has been shown to boost your metabolism and improve your health. Chili peppers, hot sauce and even ginger are all great options. Studies also show that people consume about 75 fewer calories after eating red chili peppers!