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How to Eat Healthy in College

Eating well when you’re in college can be challenging. Here are the ways you can improve your nutrition while still hitting your educational goals.

ways to eat healthy

Are you starting or heading back to college? Congrats!

College can be a pretty exciting experience. It’s a time to leave the nest and spread your wings.

You get to meet new people, move to different digs, and learn new things.

And if you’re not careful, it’s also the time to gain the dreaded freshman (or senior) 15. Eek!

So how can you optimize your health and avoid gaining weight? By Learning How to Eat Healthy in College.

Today, I’m going to share 12 Tips for eating healthy in college. So, what are you waiting for?

Let’s dig right in!

1. Stock your dorm room with the right appliances


To eat healthy in college, you need to have the right equipment. Without the right equipment, healthy becomes even more challenging.

Now, I know what you’re saying: “I live in a dorm room, so I can’t exactly have a dream kitchen.”

And, yes, you’re right about that. But you can have basic appliances that will make your life easier.

For example, you can have a mini-fridge. A mini-fridge like this can come in quite handy for keeping your fruit fresh.

It can also be good for keeping your water cold. After all, no one likes water that is lukewarm, right?

Another appliance that can come in handy is an electric kettle. Particularly on those cold winter days, it’s nice to be able to make yourself a hot cup of tea. This electric kettle has a heat-resistant anti-slip grip handle, so your hands don’t get burned while holding it.

Also, a small blender is perfect for making your morning smoothie or protein shake. This one here is BPA-free, so it won’t leak harmful chemicals into your food.

2. Stock your dorm room with healthy staples

tray of nuts

As handy as a mini-fridge is, there’s only so much food you can put in it. So, it’s essential to have a stash of non-perishable snacks in your dorm room.

These snacks include nuts, seeds, rice cakes, dark chocolate, kale chips, rice cakes, and trail mix. Do your best not to keep items like potato chips and butter popcorn in your dorm room.

That’s because they contain lots of fat and calories. And eating them too often will lead to unwanted pounds.

3. Carve out time for breakfast every day

granola bowl

With all the hustle and bustle of college life, it’s easy to skip breakfast. However, breakfast is important.

That’s because eating breakfast sets you up for the day. And it can even mean the difference between passing or failing that biology exam. So eat up that breakfast!

Stumped as to what to make for breakfast? Easy breakfast ideas for dorm living include toast and peanut butter, Greek yogurt and nuts, or cereal and milk.

When choosing a cereal, try not to go for the sugary ones. Instead, aim for ones that contain no added sugar, and add some fruit.

Like a hot breakfast? Stock up on some single-serve oatmeal. These ones contain 35% less sugar than the regular flavors.

4. Hydrate…with water.

water bottle

Now that you’re no longer a “kid,” it can be easy to go overboard on sugary and alcoholic drinks. After all, you no longer have your parents hovering over you.

But all that soda and beer is not good for you. Plus, it can lead to the freshman 15.

So, get back to the basics and drink water instead. Ideally, you want to drink about 2 liters of water a day.

I know that sounds like a lot – but drinking enough water is important. Not drinking enough water can lead to poor concentration.

And not being able to concentrate can lead to poor academic performance. So, drink up that water.

To make sure you’re drinking enough water, always have a water bottle on you. This water bottle here has a time marker that reminds you to stay hydrated.

Hate plain water? Jazz it up with some lemon slices.

5. Always carry healthy snacks in your bag

oat bars

College life can get pretty busy. This is especially true when you have back-to-back classes.

So it’s crucial to carry healthy snacks to eat on the run. That way, you can resist the candy vending machine- and save money at the same time.

Snacks that are high in protein will fill you up longer. These include nuts, seeds, granola bars, and protein bars. These protein bars are not only rich in protein but are also low in sugar.

Pair these high-protein snacks with some fruit for some extra energy.

6. Make good use of the salad bar at your dining hall

salad of greens

We could all use some more veggies. And salads are a great way to add more veggies to your diet.

Most dining halls have a pretty generous salad bar. So why not use it?

Try and choose an assortment of different veggies. The more varied your veggies, the more diverse the nutrients you get.

Now beware of the salad dressings, though. Creamy dressings can be a minefield of calories.

Instead, opt for a light vinaigrette or a splash of balsamic vinegar.

7. Have your groceries delivered  

Don’t have a meal plan at school? Then you probably have to walk or bus to a grocery store.

And lugging all those groceries back to your apartment can be a struggle. Not to mention a drain on your precious time.

So, it makes sense to have your groceries delivered right to your apartment. And if you have roommates, consider making a batch order.

That way, you can split the cost between the delivery and any service fees.

8. Get into the habit of meal prepping

meal prep containers

With classes and extracurricular activities, you may not be able to cook every single day.  That’s where meal prepping over the weekend comes in handy.

Prep once, and you have healthy meals sitting in the fridge. So, you’re not stuck wondering what’s for dinner at the end of a long day.

To keep your food fresh longer, store your meals in air-tight food storage containers. These glass containers here are pretty durable since they don’t crack or warp.

9. Indulge in fast foods- wisely

Monday to Friday, you’re hitting the books. Come Friday night, you want to party with your friends.

After all, you only live once, right? So, you may be hitting the local pub.

But even at the local pub, you can make healthier choices. For instance, instead of ordering a meat-lover’s pizza, you can order a vegetarian pizza.

Or instead of having a big order of fries, you can settle for a baked potato.

10. Channel your inner foodie

baking with eggs

You’ve come to college to learn. And what better skill to hone than cooking?

Taking your cooking skills to the next level can decrease your reliance on takeout. Takeout tends to have a ton of fat, sugar, and salt.

By cooking your own meals, you’re in control of what goes into your meals.

And who knows, by channeling your inner foodie, you could score a romantic date.

When it comes to cooking, practice makes perfect. Find your favorite food bloggers, and try a different recipe or two each week.

Or, you could invest in some local cooking classes.

11. Don’t eat in front of your TV or laptop

I get it: after a long day at school, you just want to veg out in front of the TV. But eating in front of a screen encourages distracted eating.

And in turn, you end up eating more. Instead of this, try and practice mindful eating- the practice of paying attention to your food moment by moment.

By doing so, you’re not only able to eat less food, but you’re also able to really savor it.

12. Move your body

woman jogging

To be at your best, it’s important to combine healthy eating and exercise. Working out can improve your sleep.

It can also reduce the pressures of college life.

Thankfully, most colleges have a gym on-site. So, you can exercise as much as you want.

Many college gyms have a wide variety of activities you can enjoy: swimming, dancing, yoga, martial arts, skating, and even horseback riding.

The sky is the limit.