If you ever thought that video gamers were all unfit, snack-munching couch potatoes, think again.
A study by researchers from the University of Southern California has found that video gamers are surprisingly fit – more so, in fact, than the average American. The study, which focused on those who play online role-playing games like EverQuest II, showed that despite spending almost 26 hours a week gaming, they exercised vigorously once or twice a week – scoring significantly better than the 62% of American adults who don’t exercise for longer than 10 minutes at a time.
Players were also 10% slimmer than the average American. If you’re a fitness loving gamer who wishes to achieve or maintain a healthy BMI, make sure to choose your fuel wisely.
Strategically timing your snacks
The American Society for Nutrition published research showing that video gaming increases food intake in teens – a fact that is worrisome, considering that almost 18% of adolescents in the U.S. are obese. The study showed that participants who played video games ate 80 more calories after playing than they did after they had rested for an hour. Gaming and snacking seem to match (as do catching your favorite series on Netflix or Hulu while munching on chips). However, you can strategically buck the trend by purposely leaving snack time to an hour or two after gaming; you can also try having a snack prior to picking up your console or PC.
Investing time in home cooking
If you work or study, and aim to balance these responsibilities with your passion for gaming, the last thing on your mind may be playing chef. However, research shows that doing so may actually be a wise investment. Research undertaken at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research shows that people who cook meals frequently eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who hardly step into the kitchen. If you have never tried your hand at cooking, a meal kit with all ingredients measured and ready for cooking, plus a full recipe, can make things far easier. Believers in the meal kit lifestyle believe that prepared kits can help reduce waste by helping Americans reduce 30% of the food they currently throw in the trash. They can also help people switch to environmentally friendlier ways of eating – including the consumption of more plant-based foods (since the meat industry is the primary source of methane emissions).
Choose snacks wisely
There’s no need to munch on croutons or soup all day to be healthy gamers. If you will be snacking between games or while you are challenging friends online to a match, make sure that what is within arm’s reach is healthy. Just a few snacks to have by your side include kale chips (these take just a few minutes to prepare in the oven), dark chocolate (go for 70% cacao or higher, as dark chocolate is heart-healthy), Greek yogurt and mixed berries, or home-roasted chickpeas.
Gamers aren’t the unfit couch potatoes that the media often makes them out to be. If you’re into gaming and you wish to embrace a healthy diet, start out by learning to prepare a wide array of dishes. You can start out with a meal kit and proceed to quick chef’s recipes – Jamie Oliver and other chefs have a host of free online recipes for meals that can be made in less than 15 minutes. Also choose the type of snacks you will fuel up on, opting for nutritious yet delicious foods that don’t make you feel deprived of excellent flavors and textures.