As January moves in full swing, many of us focus on our diets and how we can make healthier choices for our bodies. Whether that’s detoxing with hearty salads for a week, finding alternatives to your favorite sweet cakes, or simply eating more veggies and fruits. Today we are going to look at Healthy Eating Tips for College Students.
Healthy Eating Tips for College Students
Changing up your diet for the better is a wonderful thing to do for your health, and today we want to discuss some healthier recipes that won’t feel like diet food. Be sure before you change your eating habits you're doing something you know is a healthy switch. If you think your new eating plan may be a fad diet or something that has questionable results, do your homework first. If you have health concerns, don't start with a drastic change without checking with your healthcare provider first.
For most of us, common sense says eating more vegetables and less sugar is a great place to start. It's always challenging moving from comforting meals at Christmas to boring salads in the new year! This is one reason we’ve compiled a list of some healthier meals that also pack a punch and will make you feel healthier.
That’s right, not all heroes wear capes; some wear aprons. Scroll down to the end of this post for some healthy foods that are enjoyable and that will fit into a busy schedule!
One important healthy eating tip is to maintain a balanced diet. Balance isn't eating junk food for breakfast and then fresh fruit for lunch to balance it out! You basically need to look at your food groups and make sure you're getting something with protein and fiber your body needs. You can find one of many easy to use health and wellness apps to help you keep track of your daily foods. These make it easier to keep track of your carbs, proteins and fats throughout the day.
With college students needing healthy foods to keep up energy levels, eating a balanced diet and keeping track with an app is an easy way to make sure you're getting the foods you need. It can be easy to snack for lunch or dinner and forget that you've not had enough protein through your day!
Make Sure Your Snack Foods are Power Packed!
Don't let those junk foods take over! For college students, convenience foods are a must have. Some ideas for healthier snacks for the dorm room include:
- Peanut butter single packs
- Energy drinks with natural ingredients/lower sugar
- Rice Cakes
- Fruit (watch out for sugar content in dried fruit!)
- Cottage Cheese- you can also find singles
- Baby carrots
- Greek Yogurt and greek yogurt snack packs
- Low-fat yogurt (my favorite are the Dannon Triple Zero!)
- Keep a variety of foods for breakfast such as oatmeal, healthy cereal, and snacks with protein
Be Savvy About the Cafeteria or Dining Hall:
If you are intending to make healthy choices for foods, don't let the cafeteria throw you off! You can still enjoy healthy foods on a tight budget by selecting certain items at the cafeteria. Here are some ideas:
- Head over to the salad bar first
- Try swapping soy milk or almond milk for whole milk or creamers
- Select small portions — if the order of french fries is more than you need, split it with a friend!
- Look for fresh produce! Lots of cafeterias now offer healthier options such as apples, oranges, and vegetables
Try out Healthier Recipes:
As a college student, you may not always have the availability of a kitchen to prepare meals in. However, if you share a home with other students or have a dorm kitchen, one way to eat healthier and avoid those fast food drive-thru trips is to cook at home and prep your meals ahead.
Many students choose to do this chore on Sunday afternoon. It's a great time to get organized for the week– this means for meals too! Purchase groceries in store over the weekend and don't neglect including nutritious food. Focus on lean proteins, raw vegetables and leafy greens when you're shopping.
Focus your shopping trip on the outer edges of the store- if you are able to shop for items at the deli, produce section, and the dairy products section, chances are you will have a shopping cart with healthier items! Processed and prepared foods are staples, of course, so where you can fit it in the budget, try to include healthy options here too.
The good news is that purchasing food prep containers can help you make a few recipes over the weekend, and have enough lunches (or even dinners) to last most of your week! You can even prep a healthy breakfast if that's your go-to meal.
It seems outrageous at first to expect students to eat healthy in college, but the reality is — if you eat junk food, your cognitive abilities drop, and you cannot focus on paper writing. What is the way out? Adjust your diet to eliminate sugar spikes, as they affect your concentration, and hire someone to do them for you if you need expert help with college essays. Make sure to pay for papers written online. Eating healthy will get your energy and mind sharpness back, and you will deal with all your essays soon enough.
Here are some low to mid budget ideas for the average college student.
Easy Sausage Sheet Pan Veggies Idea– Perfect for make ahead meals!
Looking for a low effort midweek meal packed with healthy ingredients? Look no further.
- 12 veggie sausages (or regular is fine), or 1 package kielbasa sausage
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 red onion
- 1 small carton (about 1-2 cups) cherry tomatoes
- 1 zucchini
- 1 eggplant
- 1 head broccoli
- 8 baby potatoes
- 1 tablespoon mixed herbs or all-purpose seasoning such as Mrs. Dash.
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- Feta cheese to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- On a cutting board, chop your bell pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant, and broccoli into uniform bite-size chunks.
- For potatoes, you can cut in halves or fourths, depending on size. The potatoes should be uniform in size with the other vegetables
- Reserve the cherry tomatoes to add to the sheet pan later
- Dice garlic
- Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone liner and drizzle with olive oil
- Add your onion, pepper, potatoes, and broccoli and sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.
- Nestle your sausages on the tray and bake for 20 minutes
- Stir with a spatula, and add the rest of your veggies and cook for a further 30 minutes
- If at any point the veggies look like they are burning, cover with foil.
- Take out, top with crumbled feta, and serve!
To prep ahead, place your sausage and vvegetable mixture into prep containers. Keep feta separate in a small container for easy reheating of your main dish. Sprinkle with feta after your meal has been reheated. Enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 649Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 1757mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 10gSugar: 10gProtein: 33g
Keto Everything Chicken Strips is written for the air fryer, but you can use the oven for this great make-ahead meal!
This Garlic Herb Steak Hobo Dinner can actually be made meatless, or you can substitute pork or chicken if steak isn't in the budget. Load up with veggies for a healthy make ahead option!
Broccoli Bacon Cheese Muffins work as a breakfast or even a lunch! These are great to pack and take along to work or class. You can also leave out the bacon if you're looking for low-fat recipes.
Chicken is my favorite lean protein! This recipe hits the spot if you're craving pasta– and won't have you loading up on carbs. Serve with a mix of veggies or salad. I would make this one ahead for 1-2 days for best results.
Thanks for Reading!
There are so many foods you can eat during the winter that will fill you up and provide you with lots of flavor without the calories. By using these ideas and some inspiration elsewhere, you’ll be able to be healthier in 2022 and happier too.
Thanks for reading our healthy eating tips for college students! Keep in mind this post is for inspiration and general tips only. If you have health concerns, health problems or are having trouble eating properly, please seek out advice from a professional. You can always see your campus counseling team, or consult a healthcare professional. This post is not intended to diagnose or cure any disease, or to be meant for health advice.