With endless meal plans and busy schedules, it can be difficult to stay healthy in college. Many diets today require drastic life changes and adjustments that just aren’t reasonable for the everyday student. However, the 80-20 diet may be the balanced answer. This diet claims that 80% of your focuses should be on healthy lifestyle choices while the other 20% can be attributed to indulging. It's an effective way to live a healthy lifestyle without spending grueling hours at the gym... because no one has time for that.


Whether you are looking to slim down, tone up, or just be healthier all around, what you eat and drink plays a large role in your goals. The first time I truly realized the impact my nutrition has on my health was when I found out that it takes running one mile to burn off a beer. As college students, we know that shotgunning a beer can take a mere three to four seconds. It's so easy to intake calories, but it takes much more effort to burn them. Just to prove this point even more so, an In-N-Out milkshake is about 580 calories, a bagel is around 245 calories, a bag of microwavable popcorn is about 420 calories. This goes to show how mindlessly we can consume an excess amount of calories.

butter, milk, wheat, sweet, caramel, kettle corn, cereal, corn, popcorn
Andrea Kang

Diet choices are vital to maintaining a healthy body. Eating clean, non-processed foods is a simple way to stay healthy. I find that the best way for me to stick to healthier food choices is to choose the most natural, plant-based options that are yummy and filling. Now don't get me wrong, I'm far from vegan (cheese is too good), but striving to eat as plant based as possible while adding things like fish, healthy cuts of meat, and/or cheese to meals works well and still satisfies the tastebuds. This makes it much more doable to avoid unhealthy fats, proteins, and carbs while still enjoying.

meat, onion, pepper, salad, rice, vegetable
Nicole Nguyen

We all know that drinking water is vital to staying healthy, but thats not all it's good for. According to Fox News Health, drinking water and other sugar-free, non-caffeinated fluids helps you to feel full. A simple trick which makes your skin clearer and your hunger subside. Count me in!


What you eat matters more than how active you are; but nonetheless your fitness habits will push you past plateaus and help you achieve your ultimate goals. It is recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week, says the American Heart Association. Break it down and you could actually workout only three days a week with 25 minutes on the treadmill or five days a week with 30 minutes on the elliptical. Not bad. Exercising on a regular basis helps improve heart health, improve mood and energy, promotes better sleep, and combats sicknesses. Plus, exercising daily promotes healthy habits. You are less likely to eat a bag of potato chips right before or after a workout, and these healthy habits often translate to living a more mindful and healthy life.


So if 80% of your life efforts are going toward adopting healthier dietary and exercise habits, that means the other 20% get to cater toward our lazy side right? Exactly. Now this is where the 80-20 diet rises up above all the other diets out there because it actually allows us to live a little. Eat a healthy breakfast, workout, eat some pasta, have some chocolate, and bam, there's your 20% indulgence and you've still gotten your daily chocolate fix. Balancing out your guilty pleasures while focusing mostly on healthy living allows you to stay sane and feel good about your decisions.

milk chocolate, sweet, candy, milk, chocolate
Alex Weiner

The 80-20 diet is a simple way to live a healthy lifestyle without killing yourself at the gym. Just remember that everyone is different so it is important to find what works for you and what is best for your body. And in the meantime, indulge in that In-N-Out milkshake because, honestly, life is all about balance.