Here’s your guide to a healthy diet for college. Some of the common statements we often hear from college students are:
- “You won’t believe the number of tests I have tomorrow. I have to stay up all night and study.”
- “I literally don’t have time to cook my meals, I have to eat on the run.”
- “I don’t care what I am eating after all YOLO.”
I’m sure some of are you shaking your head violently nodding; college students, right?
But, I too was a college student burdened with the difficulties of eating healthy and being fit. Between all the tests, study groups, parties, events it’s an uphill battle let me tell you.
If you are stuck in a college, you need to know the importance that fitness has to your health. It is extremely important to be sure that you maintain to be as healthy as possible and this is why you have to learn to work out and eat as best as you can. This will be your source of complete information and even if you need any gym workouts. Not to mention being fit and healthy is sexy, you will attract the opposite sex I can guarantee it.
Apart from your work out schedule and intense exercising, there is one segment, which demands huge attention that most college students neglect. You need to learn how to eat healthy in college because the dynamics of college diet differs significantly. I know very well that as a college student, it can be difficult to eat healthy and thus you have a tough task at hand.
As a college student, there are a plethora of things you need to deal with. You have a super tight budget, timing issues, packed schedule, absence of cooking tools and so on. In such cases, finding easy meals for college students can be a daunting task. However, I am here to assist you and help you overcome all these challenges in the most practical and optimal way.
College Diet And Setting The Right Foundation
Some time back, I read an article regarding the importance of will power. Well, you do not really need to read an article on willpower to know its importance. This is why you need to set your mindset that you are not going to spend your time eating crap food. Your college may be strenuous and there may be a lot of work to be done, but in the end, you have to be sure that you stay true to your mindset of eating healthy food. We will offer you some of the best healthy college recipes and it is these recipes that will set you on the right course. Remember not all information is correct supplied by your school; you have to ask questions like is gatorade good for you is there a healthier option?
Now, I am not being ridiculous and I will not ask you to stay focused on your diet all the time. I am not going to prescribe you a completely perfect diet, but the idea is to choose a decent diet under the circumstances. I am well aware of how stressful college can be and this is why you need to be sure that you are juggling the balance of your life in a good manner. Stuff happens in college, there are parties, there are huge tests and term papers, but it’s important you focus on having a good diet most of the time with all the distractions. I like to think you can be healthy 80% of the time in college; at least that was about my ratio when I was a student.
Now that you are all set to have this kind of mindset, a good diet to check out is the Paleo diet. When we are talking about the college diet, Paleo ranks very high on the list because it will help you in ways more than one.
Paleo diet revolves around a style of eating which draws inspiration from the way our ancestors used to eat. You will have meats, vegetable, natural oil, fish, nuts and even fruits. All types of processed food and even grains are not a part of your diet and you need to cut their use as much as possible.
When you are looking to eat healthy in college, here are the foods which you can eat.
- Meats: if you have a tight budget, chicken works best. Beef works fine too, but grass fed beef which is of the highest quality tend to be a little on the costly side.
- Eggs: these are an excellent choice. They will pad up your body with proteins, and even minerals and vitamins. At the same time, they will help you feel full and are not all that costly either.
- Fruits: Some good options are strawberries, oranges, apple, and banana.
- Vegetables: almost all vegetables are rich nutritional value. Green beans, onion, spinach, broccoli, carrots are few of the vegetables that are sure to help.
- Brown rice: While grains aren’t permitted, there are times when I eat brown rice because it fits my budget. Remember, I told you I never asked you to be perfect, you just needed a “doing good” mindset.
- Water and tea: it is time to bid goodbye to all the delicious soda and chocolate drinks and even juices as well. Make sure to enjoy the best results by simply sticking to water and tea.
Mostly, I ate the above food and it did work for me. Obviously, you could change them a little bit based upon the kind of eating habits you have. However, college students often find a few roadblocks and we are going to discuss a few of them here.
Road Block#1: The Campus Meal Plan
Initially, I had a simple meal plan to follow when I was staying at a dormitory. When you already have a meal plan at your campus, it is often difficult to make the adjustments, especially when you are trying to follow a diet like the Paleo diet. Plus to make matters worse I had a cat card pre-loaded with money with special deals to Dominos pizza, McDonalds, and some other garbage.
However, what you need to do is be sure that you are making a few changes at least. Once again, remember that I asked you to follow a good approach and not the perfect one.
Easy Meals for College Students
We always have many choices at hand. According to domywriting.com, it is up to you to be sure that you limit your eating choice in a manner such that it turns out to be healthy for you. Here are some of the choices which I have used and I am sure you can use it too.
- Grilled chicken
- Hard boiled eggs
- Veggie stirred fry
You should try and learn the best type of offers and combinations which you can choose for your food and ensure that you keep an eye on your budget as well. Your main focus should be staying away from easy tempting unhealthy food on campus.
Ideally, you should tell your friends that you are focusing on healthy eating as they will help you avoid taking impulsive decision to eat crappy food.
Further, you will often find too many good foods surrounded by unwanted junk. In such cases, you need to dismantle the food and then choose the ones which are actually healthy for you.
Ideally, you should try and find a place that doesn’t enforce a meal plan or pre-set meals. This will eliminate a lot of problems and will give you plenty of options at hand. However, I will be quick to add that you do not need to strain your budget and monetary limitations for the sake of making these changes. It’s possible to eat healthy on budget, trust me I’ve done it.
Roadblock 2: Your Dorm Has No Kitchen
I have seen college students relying on takeaway because they have no real kitchen in their dorms. Trust me, you do not want to fall back on this day in and day out. Some of you may buy an easy meal plan or in my case a pre-loaded campus card that again isn’t the case you want either.
So, what exactly should you do in such situations?
Let us find out.
Come on. If you do want to do it the right way, you are going to have to try to find a place to cook your meal on campus. A lot of residence halls can have community kitchens where you can cook your meals. They may be a tad bit dirty and you may not find them well stocked but in the end, they will be worth your time and effort.
Also, you have the option of buying your own kitchen utensils and you can stash them in your dorm. This is an excellent way of ensuring that you have the right items with you for cooking the big meal. Sometimes, it is okay to crash at your friends’ house for the sake of borrowing the kitchen.
Some of us believe that microwave is best for cold pizza and frozen food. Perhaps, the time is right to break this stupid myth. You do have healthier options like frozen chicken breast and even frozen strawberries and fruits as well. So, if you do not have any option with you, choosing to use the microwave might seem to be the right choice at times.
Roadblock 3: Don’t Know Cooking
So, let’s say you have a good place where there are no meal plans and you have a kitchen of your own; however, your dilemma is that you do not know use your damn kitchen.
Some of us tend to crash on pizza and sandwiches to make up for the loss of cooking knowledge. Hear me, dude… This is not what you want to do. You are free to experiment with cooking, but you will have to come up with a few healthy meals at least. There is absolutely no alternative whatsoever.
There are a few quick dishes, which almost anyone can make. So, what are you truly waiting for? Simply throw a few ingredients and learn the quick recipes and you will be all set with some solid meals of your own. The stir-fry is one of these examples as it is loaded with many good ingredients and you can easily make a few additions, substitutions and you can remove the ingredients you do not like as well.
It is not mandatory that you should try this recipe. You will have a lot of easy recipes that you can follow. Use them and you will be all set to enjoy the most out of your limited cooking skills. You can also check out the best muscle gaining foods for some good ideas as well.
So, you can conquer this roadblock as well. You do not need to be an expert cook in order to eat a few healthy meals every day. You need to know the basic necessities and follow an easy to follow diet plan.
Drinking In College & Weight Gain
I know I can sense that disgusted look on your face. I have been through your phase and I am not going to ask you to give up tipping back suds altogether because it is a lost cause for most college kids. We all earn our drinks through college because come on; passing that one hell of a test is a big deal. You don’t want to sit in between a group of friends and raise your hand and say, “hey I don’t drink”. No, I am not going to ask you to do that.
All I have to say is that “don’t live to drink”. Yes, you can have those occasional drinks, which you have rightfully earned, hell I know I did when I was in college. However, at the end of the day you need to learn to soften the blow. Choose your drink wisely and learn what’s the healthiest alcohol. Also drink as much water as you can before you hit the sack after drinking; taking a multivitamin is also a good idea as you can replace the vitamins that will be stripped from your body from drinking.
One glass of beer will typically add 100 to 150 calories so be conscious of what this can do to your overall calorie intake. Follow the perfect college diet, and be cautious when you drink and you should be able to live a pretty healthy lifestyle.
So, now that you have all the ingredients to help your success, all you need to do is start implementing it. Try to aim to make most of the changes if not all. Remember I’m not asking to not have a life, but I am asking you to make some changes to make your college life healthier, however.
So what are you waiting for?
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“I don’t care what I am eating after all YOLO.” Yeah, that does south a little bit like me, without the YOLO in the end because I can’t stand the phrase. I actually worked in a bookshop for two years and many of the customers that came in looking for health and fitness books would mention the Paleo diet to me but I never actually learned much about it, or bothered to look it up. The things you listed are stuff I like to eat in general and I could see that most of them would fit in my budget, and that I just need to eat them in a healthier way than I do now, and work them in more than the easier options like gorging on cereal, toast and two minute noodles when I feel a bit peckish. That’s thanks to Roadblock Number 3… I need to stop saying that I can’t cook and actually really learning how too. I am also going to look up the Paleo Diet because so many people have spoken to me about it and then it pops up in this article. A great write up by the way. I love how you broke things down and offered the solutions. Also serves as a little bit of that motivation I need.
Yes the Paleo Diet is a pretty good option. I am glad you got some good use out of the information!
I have to say that as a college student, I loved not only this post, but all the other posts you have on this blog relating to food. One of the newer ones that you wrote about Cheap and Healthy Meals has been very useful, and this one too, because it directly relates to my situation as a typical starving student thing that I sadly have going on right about now (though I’m hoping to use some of your tips to make sure that isn’t the case for much longer, and I’m also hoping that my financial situation will improve quite a bit soon). Anyway, I really love some of the tips that you have here and the different situations that you covered. Definitely going to have to cut out the booze. I’ve known for a while that they have to go, but this has just reminded me because it was something that I like to conveniently forget from time to time.