When you are in college, you likely do not have a lot of time to devote to making or eating healthy meals. The good news is that you do not need to spend a lot of time on food prep to eat well and enjoy nutritious meals.
- Consider Telehealth
If you are struggling to eat healthy, you might want to consider speaking with a nutritionist. Telehealth is a great way to speak with a range of medical professionals from the comfort of your own dorm. They can help you learn more about what balanced meals involve and how to eat well, even while living on campus. And if you need help covering the cost of food, you can review a guide on food insecurity among college students. Having college food insecurity means students are unable to cover their basic needs.
- Balancing Your Meals
It is best to eat from several different food groups each day so you are getting enough nutrition. Look for meats, fruits, grains, vegetables, and dairy throughout your day. Try to eliminate foods that are high in sugar, added fats, and too much salt. That includes most desserts, sweetened drinks, pizza, and fattier meats. It is also a good idea to drink a lot of water each day since that will ensure you do not get dehydrated. Plus, when you are dehydrated, your body can sometimes mistake your thirst for hunger, causing you to consume excess calories. And when you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
- Navigating the Dining Hall
Many colleges offer all-you-can-eat dining halls, but this can lead to weight gain, also known as the “freshman 15.” But before you go to the dining hall, consider what you will be getting, whether it is a sandwich, salad, or entrée. Consider whether you will grab a few things on your way to class or if you have time to sit down and enjoy some food. No matter what you choose, prepare ahead of time and stick to your plan. In this way, you can avoid overeating or choosing less healthy options.
When you are in the dining hall, you might want to look for grilled options, especially if they come with whole wheat bread. Instead of getting fries, try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables, whether it is a salad or something else. If you don’t already have bread on your plate, add some brown rice for your carbs to help you stay full longer. That way, you will be getting nutrients and will not need to eat for a while.
- Always Carry Healthy Snacks
While you should not be eating all day long, you will likely get hungry between meals, especially if you are doing a lot of walking to get to various places on campus. It is important to always have healthy snacks around to fuel yourself between classes so you can keep your blood sugar stabilized. Look for non-perishable snacks to always have in your backpack. For example, you might look for nuts, dried fruit, or whole wheat crackers with peanut butter.