Perhaps the hardest choice for college students every day is “What am I going to eat?” Even students who were initially thrilled by the foods in the cafeteria could become tired of eating at the same place every day (with the same menu for 4 years).
Let’s face it – college food isn’t always that healthy. If you’re concerned about eating right, or you’re tired of the food choices, we’ve provided some tips on how to change your lifestyle:
1. Change Your Campus Meal Plan
If you go to a reasonably large university, there are usually more places to eat than just the main dining hall. You can usually change your campus meal plan to allow for more meals at the locations you like best, like the sandwich shop or the grill.
You may also want to take meals off of your campus meal plan and use that money to start buying groceries and cooking healthy meals.
2. Meal Discounts
Local restaurants almost always have discounts for college students. You may need to buy a campus or student discount card, but it’s probably worthwhile if you don’t cook much and you enjoy their food.
3. Eating Healthy
We’re not experts on healthy eating, but we’re pretty sure pizza and fast food don’t qualify. Many college students eat on the go, or late at night, and start to feel sluggish and gain weight from their unhealthy habits.
If you want to look good at spring break, or have more energy, you’re going to have to start watching what you eat, and when you eat it. That would mean making healthier food choices at the cafeteria, or starting to cook healthier foods on your own.
If you don’t have a kitchen, at least make sure that you keep some healthy snacks in your dorm room like fruits, yogurt and raisins. That way, if you get hungry when you are studying, you are not forced to hit the vending machines or order pizza.
4. College Recipes
If you have an apartment, or a kitchen available, you can start to experiment with college recipes. We use the word “experiment” because you’re bound to create some meals that may look, smell or taste like a science experiment once in awhile.
To help you cook up some simple dishes, try the Kraft Recipes website. Their website, email newsletter, and magazine have simple dishes that just about anyone can whip up in 30 minutes or less using basic ingredients that you can find in any supermarket. They also tell you exactly what ingredients you need to make the dish.
If you have roommates, it would be a great idea to trade cooking nights. That way, you won’t have to try to cook every night. Another idea is to cook enough to have leftovers, assuming you’ll eat them.
When you are gone to class or work, you have the tendency to forget about planning when and where you’ll eat next.
If you are really trying to be healthy, pack your lunch and eat outdoors or in the student lounge. Pack snacks such as soup, fruit, granola bars or crackers for the road (or chips if you really must).
Some student lounges have microwaves, so you could pack instant snacks like mac-n-cheese, ramen noodles or oatmeal.
If you remember to pack a snack, you’ll start to notice that you can focus more in class. And on that note, it’s essential that you eat a healthy breakfast and pack a snack on test days.
Although some college students believe that energy drinks are the way to go for late night cram sessions, you might notice that you don’t make it as long as you planned.
Energy drinks have lots of sugar and caffeine, so you’ll probably experience a big high, and then a low.
If you know you have a tough day ahead, try making sure you eat 3 healthy meals and pack snacks that will help with your energy such as fruit, yogurt, nuts or even something that has peanut butter.
You’ll have more energy and you’ll feel better!