9 Tips on How to Eat Healthy in College

9 Tips on How to Eat Healthy in CollegeAdapting to college life means adjusting to a new environment, meeting new people, and trying new foods. Despite the challenges, it is possible to maintain a healthy diet that falls within your student schedule and budget. Many colleges offer accessible and nutritious food choices for students, and there are also affordable and healthy options available at local stores. Keep reading for advice on maintaining a healthy diet in college (and avoid the freshman 15).


1. Eat breakfast

Regardless of when you wake up, always eat a breakfast rich in fiber and protein. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and you should be feeding your brain as soon as you wake up to get ready for the day. If you’re rushing late to a class, grab a quick granola bar or a piece of fruit and peanut butter. If you’re looking for breakfast options, try breakfast bars, overnight oats, oatmeal, yogurts/parfaits, cottage cheese, and loaded toast. Try not to skip meals, especially the first meal of the day.


2. Be wary of the dining hall

The college dining hall is a blessing to all students living on campus, but it’s also home to a lot of unhealthy options. Navigate with caution and self-control through all the unhealthy temptations to find healthy options. Head to the salad bar for fresh fruits and vegetables, and choose a healthy salad dressing, like oil & vinegar. Pay attention to how any food you’re selecting is cooked; opt for grilled instead of fried. Finally, go for power foods. Skip the sugary processed options and head for lean protein and whole grains like brown rice to build a healthy meal.


3. Always carry a water bottle

Invest in a quality reusable water bottle. You might not realize it, but you could be spending parts of your days dehydrated. You should aim to drink at least 2 to 3 liters a day. Staying hydrated all day every day benefits cardiovascular health, and helps muscles, joints, and skin. It also keeps your body cool and prevents dry mouth. Having water with you all the time will help keep you away from sugary drinks as well.


woman snacking and looking at cell phone4. Always have to-go snacks

It’s okay to keep that bag of chips in your dorm room, but when it comes to on-the-go last-minute snacks/meals, make sure you’re buying and making only healthy options. Keeping healthy snacks on hand keeps you from spending the extra money and feeding your unhealthy cravings–two things you’re trying to avoid in college. Dried fruit, nuts, or rice cakes make for an easy and healthy option for college students and provide quick ways to eat healthy in college.


5. Watch your caffeine intake

While one to two cups of coffee a day is acceptable, an excessive amount of caffeine every day is very unhealthy. Try to limit your number of caffeinated drinks each day, whether it’s soda, coffee, energy drinks, or tea. You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel. Instead of reaching for a caffeinated drink, reach for your water bottle.


6. Plan your grocery shopping trips

Before you head out to the market, make sure you have a strict grocery list. Try your best to refrain from buying too many unhealthy, processed snacks. Be sure you’re buying the right food to give your body all the protein and nutrients you need for the week. You can look for foods rich in healthy fats, like avocados, eggs, fish, and nut butters. Utilize coupons, student discounts, and sale items to save money on groceries. Aim for generic brands over name brands. Lastly, never go to the grocery store hungry.


7. Meal prep

Meal planning and prepping can be a great way to help eat a balanced diet. You don’t have to prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you don’t want to, but try to prepare at least one meal per day. If you’re usually at class during breakfast and lunch, it might be a better idea to prepare dinners for your week. Having easy access to pre-made meals will keep you away from unhealthy fast food and other temptations. Remember to keep in mind your meal prep recipes and ideas when you’re writing up your grocery list.


8. No late snacks or meals

The treats commonly found in dorm room mini fridges may be tempting before bed, but teach yourself to stay away from late-night snacks, like ice cream. Even if the portion is small, it’s still a bad habit. The urge for late-night snacks is often a result of not eating enough during the day. If you are giving your body enough food throughout the day, you shouldn’t want or need to snack before bed. If you do get the urge to snack some before bed, instead of indulging use it as a reminder to eat better during the day. Create a better habit for yourself now, and you’ll be thankful in the future.


9. Indulge on occasion

Following a strict healthy food diet can be challenging, so don’t feel defeated if you have a cheat day occasionally. You can eat a cupcake or have that extra scoop of ice cream, just do so sparingly. As balance is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, enjoying your favorite snacks in moderation can prevent feelings of deprivation and make your overall diet more sustainable. So, have that piece of cheesecake without any guilt, as occasional treats are a part of a well-rounded wellness strategy.


Eating healthy on a college schedule and budget can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Just like keeping up your grades, you need to work on keeping a healthy diet. It may be hard work, but we hope with these healthy eating tips you can start to create healthy eating habits that’ll stick with you.




📚For more ways to stay healthy, check out Tips for Managing Stress as a College Student

💸Trying to eat healthy on a short budget? Check out 6 Budgeting Tips for College Students.