This year, Mercer University decided to further diversify its dining options by introducing Panda Express. While some were ecstatic to chow down on teriyaki chicken and fried rice, others who might have opted for a veggie burger at the old Burger Studio were disappointed. With fried rice and a generous helping of sodium, the freshman 15 creeps around the corner. But with these tips, you’ll be less likely to weigh as much as a panda.
- Ask for brown rice. Brown rice is rice that hasn’t been stripped of most of its nutritious contents. According to the National Institution of Health, brown rice is nutrient-dense in the sense that it contains protein, calcium, magnesium, and selenium, a mineral shown to help us fight diseases. And overall, since it’s a whole grain, it’s full of fiber, a key component to feeling full and eating less.
- Avoid fried anything. Another reason we advise you to choose brown rice is because this rice is boiled rather than fried. What makes fried foods so scrumptious is trans fat, the worst kind of fat you can feed your body. According to a study conducted at Wake Forest University, trans fat makes losing weight difficult because it accounts for the stubborn fat that just won’t go away . According to the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Institution of Health, trans fat can be linked to obesity. Wake Forest University conducted a study using a diet rich in trans-fat and another without. The participants on each diet ate the same amount of calories but the people who ate the trans-fat diet gained more weight — specifically in their abdomen area. In short, fried foods equals trans fat, and trans fat equals gut.
- Chicken is better than beef. When selecting meats, go for light meats such as chicken and turkey. Lighter meats tend to have a better protein-to-fat ratio (more protein, less fat), which is essential for building muscle and burning fat. Red meats like beef often have more saturated fats, which can increase your risk of obesity, not to mention heart disease.
- Take it easy on the soy sauce. A characteristic of East Asian dishes is the use of soy sauce. In moderation, soy sauce is okay, but it is high sodium. Do you sometimes feel fat from drinking a lot of water? Water weight happens when our bodies hold in every drop of water we drink. According to Medical News Today, Sodium greatly contributes to water weight since water “follows” wherever salt goes. In addition, soy sauce is often made with monosodium glutamate, otherwise known as MSG. This additive has been associated with migraines, nausea, weakness and chest pains, among other symptoms. The FDA has approved it as safe, but many people can be MSG-intolerant.
- Go to the gym. You know what’s right across from Panda Express? Of course you can’t out-train a bad diet, but going to the gym can help you maintain or lose weight, and it might even make you want to eat less junk.