Timeless Tips for
Healthy Eating in College
Healthy eating in college is possible!
If you have concerns about gaining the dreaded "freshman fifteen," review the information on freshman weight gain and
how to avoid the Freshman 15 now.
Allow me to share my professional advice and experience as a registered dietitian to make healthy eating in college just a bit easier:
Healthy Eating at College: Use Your Dining Card in Smart Ways
Use your all-you-can-eat dining card to purchase healthy foods from the cafeteria that you can stock in your dorm room or apartment:
- Instant packets of oatmeal
- Individual boxes of breakfast cereal
- Mini cracker packets
- Individual packets of peanut butter and jelly
- Whole fresh fruit
- Sliced bread or pitas
- Container of crunchy crudités (celery, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers,etc.) to crunch on while studying
- Bean Soup or Veggie Soup: Fill a hot drink container with a tight fitting lid and so you can reheat and sip anytime of day.
- Sandwich meats from the deli
- Hard boiled eggs
- Nonfat or lowfat yogurt
- Individual cartons of fat free (skim) milk
- Individual containers of fat free or lowfat cottage cheese
- String cheese
Note: Think of this as "weekly shopping" and set aside some time on the weekend to take an empty backpack to the student union so you can stock up on these items and carry them back to your room for storage. Alternatively, walk or ride your bike to a nearby grocery store and make a regular shopping trip for these foods.
Healthy Eating in College: Eat Intentionally, not Accidentally.
It's not uncommon to fall victim to haphazard eating when you're in college due to new found freedom, erratic class schedules, and the influence of your friends.
So eat at regular, planned
- Eat within 1 hour after waking up.
- Eat every 3-4 hours thereafter.
If you've stocked up on the healthy foods above, simply throw a few in your backpack if you know you'll be away from home at your planned meal times so you never miss a meal.
Healthy Eating in College: Manage Cafeteria Eating
Cafeteria meals are dangerous because they're the equivalent of eating at an all-you-can eat buffet.
- Ditch the cafeteria tray. With a tray it's possible to load up a dinner plate, salad plate, dessert plate or two, plus a beverage. Stick with the plate only and eat only the amount that will fit on the plate.
- Know what healthy food you'll eat ahead of time and beeline for it, avoiding other temptations.
- If you "hang out" in the cafeteria, create a defined ending to your mealtime such as brushing your teeth, eating a breath mint, or chewing gum. It's like drawing a line in the sand that says, "OK, eating time is over now, despite the fact we're still sitting here in the cafeteria."
- Go back for dessert. Instead of deciding at the start of a meal that you're going to have dessert, wait until you finish. You may find that you no longer want it, or the trouble of having to go through the line a second time isn't worth it.