College is such an exciting time of life! New friends, independence, academics and fun! But it can also be a stressful time. And worrying about gaining the “Freshman 15” or any weight during college can cause anxiety for kids. Students are surrounded by junk food in the dining halls, sororities and fraternities and in the many fast food restaurants on campus, and it’s not always easy to make a good choice.
Here are a few tips for college students to eat healthy on campus:
- Always choose to eat fruit with breakfast and vegetables with lunch and dinner. It will help fill you up and allow you to eat more appropriate portions of other foods.
- Drink water, coffee and tea and avoid sweet drinks like coffee drinks, juice, sweetened iced tea and soda.
- Think about building a plate at each meal with protein (eggs, chicken, fish, beans, tofu, lean red meat), whole grains (whole wheat bread, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta) and fruit or vegetables (steamed or sauteed vegetables, salad, coleslaw, cut up or whole fruit).
- Avoid whites like white pasta, white rice and white bread. Choose the whole grain options instead such as whole wheat pasta, oats, brown rice and wheat bread.
- Limit sweets and dessert to one small portion per day.
- Try not to late-night eat EVERY night! I know it’s part of the fun of being at college (Domino’s Pizza was my late-night weakness), but just don’t overdo it!
Examples of a healthy breakfast: Eggs, fruit and slice of whole wheat toast OR oatmeal with fruit and nuts on top
Examples of a healthy lunch: Turkey roll up, salad and minestrone soup OR salad with grilled chicken and a multigrain roll
Examples of a healthy dinner: Slice of vegetable pizza and a salad OR shrimp and vegetable stir fry with brown rice and a salad
One way to control your food choices at meals is to keep healthy snacks in your room and in your backpack for when the munchies hit.
Here’s a grocery list of healthy snack foods to stock up on!
College Snack Ideas To Keep In Your Room
Fruit and Vegetables are a must!! (buy pre-cut vegetables if you do not think you will be able to cut things up and buy fruits that are easy to grab and eat)
Baby carrots/carrot sticks
Sugar snap peas
(You get my drift!!!)
Hummus for the veggies
Salsa and guacamole
Hardboiled eggs (premade in bags)
Sliced cheese or string cheese
Yogurt (no artificial sweeteners and no more than 12 grams sugar)
Plain thick rolled oats (to make oatmeal in microwave)
Healthy cereal (Cheerios, Puffins, Heritage Flakes/no more than 6 grams sugar and at least 5 grams fiber)
Granola for topping yogurt
Nuts (make snack bags of ¼ cup nuts + ¼ cup dried fruit + ¼ cup healthy cereal or buy pre-made nut snack bags at Trader Joe’s)
Nut butter (all natural–no added sweeteners or oils; put on crackers, rice cakes or bananas or apples)
Dried fruit (no sulfur dioxide; good for a topping for your yogurt or oatmeal or to mix with nuts)
Whole grain crackers (at least 2-3 grams fiber per serving; Triscuit and Blue Diamond are good brands; top with nut butter, hummus or cheese)
Skinny Pop (individual bags help control your portions)
Sprouted grain tortilla chips (Try the Way Better Snacks brand)
Brown Rice cakes (great with melted cheese or nut butter)
Bars (RX bars, Soul Spout, Lara, Go Raw are good brands; no more than 9 grams sugar, at least 3 grams fiber and 3 grams protein)–Keep some bars in your backpack
Sliced deli turkey (eat on crackers or rolled up in a romaine leaf)
Graham crackers (for when you need something sweet!)
Coffee and tea (good for when you’re studying but you don’t want to eat!)