The Guide to Healthy Eating in College
Going back to college means a lot of things – among them, reuniting with friends, buckling down in the library, staying up late into the night, and perhaps most importantly (for me), scavenging for good, healthy food. The prospect of returning to school, this time with access to a stovetop (ah, the perks of sophomore year!) excites me and frightens me at the same time. Will I make use of this, or wallow in the grease of frozen pizza and French fries? Will the Freshman 15 become the Sophomore 30? In a panic, I scoured the Internet for healthy recipes, and perhaps most importantly, reached out to Serra Tumay, founder of Project need. – an organization that promotes healthy lifestyles for children, teens and young adults.
Behold: the guide to healthy eating in college.
1. Don’t fall into the trap of convenience.
…which isn’t as easy as it looks. College students (myself included) live for convenience and salivate at low prices. But, according to Tumay, typically the most accessible and least costly foods are “not nutrient dense, but rather highly caloric [such as chips or pizza].” Don’t want to fall into the trap?
Tumay suggests checking out the local farmers markets, where you can buy fruit and veggies for affordable prices in large volume. Don’t have time for the farmers market? Check out pre-made or packaged frozen fruits like Fresh Start Fusion – a mix of frozen, seasonal fruits and vegetables you can whip into a smoothie or defrost for a snack in seconds. If you want to learn how to make the perfect smoothie on our site!
2. Sub out carbs.
Trust me – carbs are the devil, and boy are they good. But we don’t have to eat them, and it’s often ineffective to load up on them because they won’t fill you up. It’s better to spend more on a more filling meal (an omelet, perhaps) than to constantly be buying food.
“Students can substitute a whole fruit, a fruit salad or a yogurt for a bagel or sugar loaded cereal in the mornings,” suggests Tumay. Our favorite pasta-like substation? Nasoya Pasta Zero Shirataki Noodles – with only 14 calories per serving, you save about 200 calories eating this vegan, soy based noodle and get to enjoy your favorite pasta dishes without the guilt.
That’s right – I said it (or rather, Tumay said it). But she’s not talking about Doritos, as much as we wish she were. “We tend to over eat or eat fatty foods when we are hungry,” says Tumay. “Therefore, students should bring foods to snack on between classes or throughout the day. This can be things like fresh fruits, dried fruits or nuts.”
Hydration often beats boredom hunger (that seemingly insatiable desire to eat when you’re bored in class, but not actually hungry), and it’s good for your skin too! You cannot lose with this one. “Being hydrated keeps you alert, active, and restores energy by fueling all of your cells. This can help reduce the need for coffee or other caffeinated sugary beverages,” explains Tumay. “Water can help cut costs too especially if students can use a filtration device like a PUR water filter or reusable bottles.” Our suggestion? Invest in a Nalgene – you’ll have enough water for most of the day!
5. Split cooking duties among friends.
It’s a cost efficient, and social way to stay healthy. The time and effort that goes into grocery store shopping will be cut in half, thirds, or even eighths depending on how many mouths your feeding. “Cooking can be enjoyable when done in groups where the duties can be spread out amongst friends,” suggests Tumay. So rotate duties on a weekly basis! Eating out tends to be more caloric because you have less control over what you’re putting in your body, so cooking with friends is a good way of taking your health into your own hands!
So there you have it! Five easy ways to make sure you stay healthy this semester! Do you have any tips or recipes you'll use? Tell us about it in the comments below!