It is not as hard as it may sound!
TLDR: I am here to give you my tips & tricks on how to live a healthy lifestyle at college (without spending a fortune, either!)
As someone growing up with dietary restrictions, eating healthy has always been very important to me. When I first went off to college, I figured it was going to be a walk in the park for me. Especially because I was studying Nutritional Sciences at the time. I soon realized it was not going to be as easy as it was back home where my mom made healthy meals that fit my diet every day. After some research and readjusting, I realized how simple it could be to continue living a healthy lifestyle while away at college.
Do not grocery shop while you are hungry.
This is something our parents always warned us about, but we didn’t have to worry about ourselves until we ventured off to college.
I’m guilty of doing this on SO many occasions, whether it be on my way to class looking to grab a “snack” (which ends up being 5 snacks, 3 of which are definitely not healthy or necessary) or after a long day of studying. Going to the grocery store hungry will not only lead you to buying more unhealthy impulse items, but it will also lead you to spend upwards of $20 on things you don’t need! Before heading to the grocery store, I always double check my pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what I need to stock back up on. I write EVERYTHING down, which helps me hold myself accountable to only buy the things on my list.
Keep healthy snacks around.
I live on snacks. Most of my classes run through the typical meal times during the day and I don’t always have the time to eat a full meal in class. Also, I prefer snacking over big meals because it helps me avoid bloat and fatigue that larger meals tend to give me! (And let’s be honest, I love the variety that snacking gives me rather than settling for one meal.)
I’ve made a whole blog post about my favorite snacks and where you can find them!
Meal prep! Even if its small.
This is something I find extremely helpful in staying healthy when I come home late after class or work. My favorite way of “meal prepping” is to cut, prep, and roast a ton of veggies that I can mix and match with quinoa or rice and whatever protein I am feeling that week. I have found that by prepping foods separately rather than into set portions, I have more freedom and flexibility with my meals.
My favorite meal prep go-to’s are:
– Roasted Sweet Potatoes
– Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
– Tricolor Quinoa in Bare Bones Rosemary and Lemon Chicken Broth
– Baked Chicken Breasts and Thighs smothered in Primal Kitchen Green Goddess Dressing
– Baked Salmon with Fresh Cracked Pepper and Pink Salt
Shopping apps are your friend!
Did you know that as a student, you can get a discounted Amazon Prime membership? And with that membership, you can get exclusive discounts at Whole Foods Market with the WFM or Amazon Prime app! This extra savings has helped me eat well on a budget, for sure.
Another app I use on occasion is the Ibotta app, which gives you cash back on grocery and home items you are already purchasing. Although I use this app mainly when I need to restock on paper goods and toiletries, there are also seasonal produce deals that I will redeem.