T Nation

Eating Healthy In A Modern World

I’m a 21-year-old college senior and I’m finding it difficult to eat consistently healthy. I’m wondering how many of you are achieving this and whether it’s worth the effort for you. I usually bring breakfast and lunch to work and school and then eat the rest of my meals at home.

But I’m often invited to lunch or happy hour at work and I think it would be detrimental to my career at this point to not just go with the flow. And I go out for social shit sometmies because I don’t wanna be a hermit. So I end up eating healthy probably 70% of the time. Working out consistently isn’t an issue as my school has an awesome gym.

I figure if I eat well 70-90% of the time and work out consistently, I’ll be in better shape than most people. I just don’t want to become one of those guys who graduates college and goes up a pant size a year into his 50s. I wanna be that ripped 70-year-old motherfucker in the Bowflex commercials.

tl;dr: How to be sexy and healthy in a world catered to fats?

First, fats aren’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re referring to dietary fat (although you may just be referring to obese people).

Second, eating out doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. If you eat out a lot, figure out a way to make it protein & vegetables in the meal. This can be tough if you’re invited to things like sandwich shops where the ONLY thing they sell is sandwiches, but if you’re at a sit-down place you ought to be able to order a steak and vegetables, which has become my go-to meal when eating out. Pretty hard to really mess that up. Salads can have a lot of garbage tossed into them, but a steak with broccoli or some other vegetables is always a safe bet.

Yes, eating well 70-90% of the time and working out consistently will keep you in better shape than “most people.” Eating out a couple days per week will not turn you into the Marshmallow Man. It’s really not that hard to stay in “pretty good” shape if you’re exercising regularly; going from “pretty good” shape to “great” shape is a lot harder.

I agree with the above, and will offer a few thoughts.

When eating out, ask about subbing steamed or mixed veggies for rice, mashed potatoes, or fries. With salads, hold the dressing and have it served on the side, and opt for vinegar and oil if it is available. If a restaurant serves very large portions, take half home and have it for lunch the next day. You can skip on the rolls, crackers, and desserts from time to time - they are not obligatory and few would take offense if you chose not to have them if served with dinner. If you are dining out, try to avoid buffets. Chef salads, cobb salads and any protein + veggie combos are healthy winners, as noted above.

As for beverages, alcohol in moderation and skipping the caloric drinks is always a win-win. I think eating well 70-90% of the time, provided you otherwise stay active, will produce good results. Where I see people go wrong is allowing 70% to become 40% or 50% here or there, and before you know it the fat gains are on. Also, having the mentality that you ate a crappy lunch, therefore it’s already blown for the day, so might as well splurge at dinner or have an extra serving of dessert, will not do a body good.

Learning the basics of proper nutrition will allow you to make the right choices in day to day life. It is very easy to do.

Some good posts thus far.

OP - keep in mind that “eating healthy” is a broad topic and covers a wide range of goals such as performance, longevity and so on. (ie. eating healthy at 21 is likely different than at 42)

In general - an emphasis on vegetables, high-quality protein, good fats and some fruit will fit the bill in any scenario.