Pressure to diet and become exercise savvy is prominent to say the least. Instagram and Twitter accounts, blogs and YouTube channels advocating nutrition and fitness have become the leaders in promoting this fitness movement. Will simply cutting calories bring us closer to that dream body? Probably not.

While the gym is important for maintaining good health, time spent in the kitchen also plays an important part. Diets don’t have to be about cutting out certain food groups. Nutrition experts claim that the key is eating more of the right foods.

All food groups can fit into a healthy diet as long as you practice moderation and exercise regularly. As college students, eating healthy may seem almost impossible due to time crunches, strained finances and tastes. Meal preparation and food awareness may ease the transition into healthier eating habits, resulting in a slimmer physique.

Adding more greens to your diet is a good place to start. Spinach, for instance, is high in vitamin C and also nurtures the skin, hair and nails. Another good idea is increasing fruit intake. Cherries, apples and grapes supply minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that are likely to be deficient in the body.

In addition to fruit and vegetable intake, it’s important to remember grains and protein. Wheat bread and whole grain pasta are healthy carbohydrates and can be paired with a serving of vegetables or fruit.

Getting enough protein can also make a difference throughout the day. Eggs and lean meats are excellent sources of protein. If you’re a vegetarian, nuts and beans are good options. Finally, drink more water!

Inconsistent eating habits and lack of exercise can be detrimental to your personal progress. The goal is to stay committed and turn such a small everyday task like eating into a fundamental part of a stronger, healthier lifestyle. Though eating smaller portions helps decrease the number on the scale, exercise also boosts energy, helps speed up metabolism and prevents diabetes.

A 20-minute cardio sweat session can not only improve your mood, but also your immune system. So instead of beating yourself up about what you should do or consume less of, be proactive and consider what more your body requires.

The ultimate thing to keep in mind is that both exercise and a healthier diet are the best tools toward long-term weight loss.

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