Put Down the Doritos, You Can Do Better Than That at College

Healthy choice diet

When you get to college, the most difficult thing will not be getting up for that 8 a.m. class on Friday morning, nor will it be staying awake through art history. The most difficult thing you will have to do is try to obtain a cheap healthy diet. Did you know that mozzarella sticks are 186% more popular among college students than they are among regular diners? There is a reason that college students struggle. College food courts and their other food offerings are notoriously unhealthy, and expensive. If you want to save money and eat healthier foods, then you will need to step into the realm of healthy college cooking.

Why is a healthy diet important?

In order to have the energy to sustain late nights of partying, extracurricular participation, long days of classes, and some of the most rigorous academic challenges you will yet face, your body needs to be properly fueled. Getting everything done, and doing it well, will require that your body and brain have more to work with than the dregs of energy drinks, pizza, coffee, and burritos. Between the stress, the proximity and interaction with hundreds if not thousands of other people, and a weakened immune system due to inadequate nutrition, your chances of getting sick at college are pretty high. Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins can help protect your immune system even if you can’t do anything about the stress or your proximity to other cold carriers.

How do I start enjoying healthy college cooking?

Only about 9% of college students buy groceries, and more than 50% choose to order takeout, or go out to eat. The temptation to just go to the food court or go out to eat will be hard to avoid, but if you prepare both delicious and nutritious meals for yourself, you can start to reduce that temptation. Look for healthy cooking tips from blogs and cooking websites. The only trick is to try and use as many fruits and vegetables as possible in your meals. Also, be aware of what your temptations are. There tends to be 35% more snacking during the winter among college students. Try keeping whole fruit around your dorm, or nutrition bars to make sure that your first instinct is not to go to the on-campus Quick-Mart.

How do I do this on a budget?

In 2011, the average college student spent $750 per year on food, in excess of on-campus eating. Finding and using coupons for the local grocery store will be a big help. As will cooking larger meals on the weekend so you can eat leftovers during the week. Also, limiting the amount of eating you do off of campus will help. College diners are 28% less likely to place “healthier” orders than the average diner.

Some of the best tips on how to eat a healthy diet can be found from other students, just like you. Learn from others who have already perfected the technique, and find out if there are any clubs or groups based on healthy cooking. Healthy college cooking will not necessarily get you a 4.0, or keep you from ever getting sick, but it will certainly help.

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